Great, thanks for posting this. Debunking the “it’s all the sun” claim requires considerably less effort than this because the relationship in recent decades is so clearly not there (as e.g. I did here) but it’s good to have a more heavyweight response.
I also agree with not pussyfooting around calling fraud and incompetence. The denial camp has no compunctions about accusing the science community of fraud on flimsy or non-existent evidence (or stolen emails taken out of context – not to mention stolen source code snipped to hide the fact that the “incriminating” content is never used).
It would be good to have a regular reminder and update of the top 10-50 items of junk science associated with climate change (including, where necessary, documenting significant mistakes made in articles and work related to the IPCC).
What would the scorecard look like? What would be the top 50 most-influential items of fully discredited science?
I commend you guys on your work in this site and the recent situation which has been blown out of proportion. I have a suggestion in regards to the Other Opinions column with all the links, I say remove the BBC enviroment blog link. A lot of what is written there in regards to climate change is spurious unfounded information and since the leaked emails, there has been nothing but disinformation and the BBC has provided a platform for quacks and their dubious “science”. I am thoroughly disappointed with the BBC and I now refuse to use any of their services. They are no longer a credible source in my view, though this is not the first time they have published articles with false information but I believe this is the first time they have perpetuated discredited ideas as truth.
It is fundamentally a question of trust : there are good scientists and not so good scientists as for professionals everywhere – doctors, dentists, accountants and lawyers, for example.
Unfortunately we do not have the luxury of time in exposing the rascals nor, whilst accepting rights to freedom of expression, to pervert freedom of expression by preventing some crackpot from making a film or publishing something false merely for them to make a bit of loot or to satisfy a recognition craving.
I am not a practising scientist but I have been following climate science over the years and I try to keep up. One of the problems I have is the immortality of junk science – exactly the point made by Peter Laut in his letter. It takes a good memory or good record keeping, or both, to keep hold of the thread connecting the best available current science.
If it’s difficult for me, someone with a bit of a science background, then it must be more difficult for the average Jo (masculine or feminine).
I don’t know what the answer is to this except to go with the consensus of top quality scientists in their respective fields who are respected by their peers.
One of my bigger difficulties with global warming is the oft repeated comment that humanity is taking a big and expensive bet on switching to a zero-carbon economy if AGW turns out to be a hoax.
I accept the insurance argument to some extent, but we really should have nailed the argument to the wall that switching to a zero-carbon economy is not as difficult as people make out and will take place over a much shorter time frame than the cut-off dates for reductions which most politicians (and even Messrs Hansen and Schellnhuber) seem to be working with.
I do not say that with false optimism but with full knowledge of how countries and societies have developed historically. The creativity of humanity almost has no bounds and when we are really in a fix we fix it rapidly and wonder later what the fuss was all about.
To move forward takes political leadership which apart from a few isolated examples is lacking. In its absence I can only recommend doing ones best and encouraging others to do likewise.
” “I would love it to be right! I would absolutely love it to be right! Unfortunately, wanting something doesn’t change the scientific reality. One can’t use spin or rhetoric or anything to change the scientific reality.”
Peter Laut has a marvellous quotation here from Mike Lockwood. Most all of us who are not deep in the data would really love to have man-made global warming go away. Unfortunately, it is not going away; and it always seems to be more threatning than the last IPCC report said.
November 09 global temps will most likely break all time records, and 2010 could easily surpass 1998 as the warmest on record. I’m looking forward to seeing Svensmark (and his followers) sometime next year explain why their proposed cooling is somewhat delayed. After all, with basically no sunspot activity for months upon months, that star should have chilled us properly by now? The newspapers (Norway)had no problems quoting Svensmark and other solar scientists during a cold spell last winter, proudly announcing that global warming was pretty much a thing of the past. Let us see if they can do a follow up interview in a few months, during what seems to become the mildest winter in ages.
I don’t see too many sceptics claiming it’s the sun at all. There are a few, but most seem to concentrate on the lack of evidence that CO2 is the driver, rather than pointing to the sun. Indeed, many sceptics (rightly in my opinion) ask ‘what warming?’ rather than pointing to any cause of any warming. And before any usual suspects jump on that, I’d say that there is no warming that is statistically significant when you remove the UIHE, poor station siting, station drop-out etc. Even when you study the more reliable lower tropo data then there is no statistically significant warming there either, over the past 30 years. If the past eleven years would have added to the small trend then none of these arguments and the polarisation in the debate would be happening. But the fact is that as warming didn’t carry on at the late 1990s rate then the sceptics have a point. This is missed (or rather not addressed) by pro-AGWers. Things that are happening have to be admitted, but things that aren’t happening have to be admitted too. There was a strange and quite abrupt upturn in temps in the late 1970s which doesn’t fit with greenhouse gases being a driver. We should have seen a gradual incline, but that hasn’t happened either.
[Response: What is your expectation based on? Not any individual climate model I'm certain. Then what? Thinking about this should demonstrate to you that post-hoc statements about some mismatch that you perceive needs to be more thoroughly looked into. -gavin]
Until these points are properly addressed then the proponents of global warming remind me of someone bleeding to death through a cut artery while applying a plaster to a hand-cut. Deny CRU email leaks are damaging, point to the physics of CO2, but all the while you have UIHE, poor station siting, station drop-out, a lack of warming in the Southern Hemisphere, and no corelation at all between emissions of CO2 and the global temperature anomaly. I would also agree with the commentator above about the BBC, but for different reasons. They continually put out scare stories about warming that will have no other effect than to make everyone ‘warming-weary’ simply because they are so absurd. The ‘six degree rise’ being just one. The Wilkins ice shelf story in Antartica is not just wheeled out every year by the BBC, they even use the same photo!
Until we have real truth in the idea behind warming then we simply won’t get anywhere. 
Another nail in the coffin. How, pray tell, do the dead keep rising? Can all not see throwing words at them is not going to do it, at least not polite euphemisms.
We’re mad as hell. How about we not take it anymore?
Actually, Diamond and others have shown that collapse of societies is a pretty normal thing. Diamond has illustrated the opposite of what you say may be true due to the issue of complex systems. The further a society slips and the more they try to solve their problems with greater complexity, the more likely they are to fall.
This situation is global. Society has never been more complex. We are in overshoot of what the planet can provide us. Fossil Fuels are beginning global declines.
We can, and will, collapse, imo, if we don’t simplify, reduce, localize.
There is a nice piece linked on my blog about balancing out consumption a bit.
I think Laut missed one aspect: Danish nationalism. Svensmark, in particular, has been lionized by the popular press in his home country because he is the DANISH David who slayed the Goliaths of the US, UK, etc with all their climate research billions. The “solar Danes” (including Lomborg) have been awarded prizes, research and government positions, and made the subject of laudatory films, TV shows, and magazine articles — much to the annoyance of more by-the-rules Danish and Scandinavian scientists.
Global warming deniers and skeptics have gone too far in confusing the public about the climate change. Here is bold proposal for how we can stop them while placing the issue of global warming at the center stage of media attention.
In the United States and other countries, climate change misinformation legislation is clearly necessary to finally put, and keep, the seriousness of global warming at center stage. An ingenious dynamic of this legislation is that it would not even need to pass and be signed into law to have much of its intended effect.
An unapologetically draconian Climate Change Misinformation Act (CCMA) would make it illegal for media corporations and large organizations to deny, or provide a podium for individuals to deny, the reality and seriousness of global warming. The bill would be based on our longstanding precedents prohibiting individuals and corporations from, for example, practicing medicine and law without a license, prohibiting individuals and corporations from making false advertising claims, and protecting the public health, as through the banning of cigarette ads on television.
The Climate Change Misinformation Act would, of course, allow peer-reviewed professional scientific journals to challenge established scientific findings on global warming. It would also allow individuals to deny, and self-publish material denying, global warming. The legislation would, however, prohibit corporations and large organizations from challenging the established scientific consensus on global warming, and require the courts to impose severe financial and other penalties, including the imprisonment of top officers and executives, for transgressions.
A Climate Change Misinformation Act would undoubtedly evoke massive attacks from Conservatives aligned with Big Business and from Liberals wishing to defend free speech rights. However, that is the point and strategy of proposing CCMA. In order to attack the bill, its opponents would need to show that global warming is not happening, that it is not caused by humans, that it does not represent a serious threat to civilization as we know it, and that it does not need to be strongly and quickly addressed. In fact, opponents of CCMA would be powerless to attack the bill without reopening, and keeping open, the public debate over the seriousness of global warming. Once global warming is finally and strongly back in the national spotlight, legions of scientists armed with a mountainous arsenal of overwhelming evidence would have a captive audience eager to hear exactly how perilous a threat we face from climate change.
I can think of no other way to help the global public sufficiently appreciate the magnitude of the threat we and our progeny face than to make illegal corporate and organizational misinformation on climate change. If we opt to refrain from taking this drastic, but absolutely realistic and rational step, the world’s people will quite understandably continue to conclude that the climate crisis is not very serious.
In 1970, the U.S. Congress enacted the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act banning cigarette ads on TV and radio to protect the pubic health. Neither cigarette manufacturers, nor tobacco growing organizations, nor their agents, were considered proper countervailing authorities to the Surgeon General on the question of cigarettes and the public health.
Indeed, that limitation on the free speech rights of cigarette manufacturers is minor in comparison to limitations on not only free speech rights but various rights of commerce and industry related to agents deemed more harmful to the public health, such as cocaine, LSD, etc. The principle at play regarding the public health risk of both drugs like nicotine and of climate change is the same; there must be a sole and final authority for that decision, and it is the government’s duty to determine who that authority ultimately is. A Climate Change Misinformation Act would establish an organization like the IPCC as the sole and final authority on the public health risks of climate change.
We now have laws that prohibit manufacturers from making false claims about products as trivial as nutritional supplements. Generations to come would never understand or forgive us if we fail to enact laws prohibiting corporations from making false claims about a climate crisis that is endangering civilization, as we know it. They would very rightly view us as completely immoral and cowardly. I hope we will decide to love our children and grandchildren more than we fear the few who, from ignorance, stupidity or immorality, are standing in the way of our safeguarding the welfare of our descendants for generations to come.
[Response: I can't support this, I'm afraid, and neither would any of my colleagues. The way to get rational honest discussion to happen is to make your voice heard -- write letters to congress; write letters to the mainstream media; talk to you friends and neighbours. But 'laws' about truth always backfire. Your intentions are good, but you are proposing an Orwellian system that is quite frightening. This is exactly the kind of thing that the crazies out there would like to believe that mainstream scientists and environmentalists (not the same thing, by the way) want. Please don't help stoke their deluded fantasies!--eric]
Steve, See here’s the problem I have. You state your conclusions with such absolute certainty, that one wonders what sort of analysis underlies them. As Gavin points out, it ain’t model driven. Have you actually done the math and figured out how much energy is required to raise global temperatures half a degree on average–thats the temperature of land, sea to say, 50-100 meters) and air, btw?
Methinks perhaps you are blowing smoke. I mean after all the hoopla about microWatt’s site study, an analysis with problem stations found that it made zero difference. And all of McI’s analytical twists and turns have not changed the paleoclimate reconstructions one iota. Reality, Steve, it’s what’s for dinner.
Thanks but no thanks. Like it or not, we live in a democracy, and I would prefer to keep it that way. I say we deal with the tin-foil-hat crew the old fashioned–by quiet persuasion and presentation of the evidence. If that fails, ridicule of ideologically driven nutjobs is always fun.
And thank you for undertaking the Sisyphean task of – as working and valued scientists – entering the political arena with such positive effect.
A suggestion: the next time you consider adding a body to the already impressive corpus of the RC site, give some thought to making it a qualified investigative reporter. Seems to me there’s a fair amount of money that needs following – and that’s the essence of reporting, isn’t it?
“…two arithmetic errors artificially created…”, “…which were well hidden in the article…”.
Scathing. Excellent work on the part of Peter Laut. And a clear call to follow the money.
Now there may be those who believe that such investigative undertakings have no place in the realm of science – even if only as a matter of professional courtesy. But I am no longer one of them. Nor – after the CRU hack – should any of us be. 
Comment by Jaime Frontero — 29 Nov 2009 @ 11:58 AM
The Telegraph spin is predictably sympathetic, giving David Holland alot of column inches, but they give the last word to Phil Jones.
“Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them.”
George Ortega #15, while I sympathise with the spirit, colour me skeptical. There is something much simpler that can be done, without 1st amandment issues or need for a political majority: a Climate Libel Defense Fund, generously endowed and aggressively programmed.
What would also help would be to see Bush and Blair on trial for their Iraq crime (yes I know, in my dreams). It would mark that war crimes and crimes against humanity have consequences.
Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Nov 2009 @ 12:11 PM
To Geroge Ortega
Sounds like you’d rather not have any debate at all – if you are so confident of AGW you should allow the facts to speak for themselves and if people dont listen keep repeating the facts (as you see them)
Posts like yours only increase the impression that your ‘side’ are slightly intolerant
[Response: There is no shortage of intolerance in the world (and my email this week attests strongly to that). Basing an appreciation of a scientific argument on tallies of where the most or least intolerance is to be found is not particularly rational. - gavin]
Peter Jensen, #5: I agree, and think that would be an excellent project for a science journalist. He would need help from climate scientists, but it’s definitely doable. Unfortunately it would never make it to, say, the New York Times, but a magazine or even a courageous paper (Sacramento Bee? LA Times?) could do it. Or, possibly, Grist. I’m willing to take it on if a few people are willing to help. It would be an excellent communication tool.
Scientists I know are all restrained and fair minded people. Deniers take advantage of this. Time to go on offense in the court of public opinion.
In my opinion Svensmark is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. On the one hand his is a serious scientist (Dr. Hyde) generating several interesting scientific ideas about global warming and on the other hand a politician (Dr. Jekyll) working to satisfy ideological goals of the utmost conservatives in Denmark. This originates from his need for funding from utility companies and from the utmost conservatives in the Danish parliament. For these reasons Svensmark is difficult to understand. Sometimes he is a scientist and sometimes a politician.
Svensmark’s position in science is influenced by his Dr. Jekyll personality, when he is producing spin about his science. However – as I understand it – he has produced several scientific ideas, which have been accepted by the scientific community.
If you are using very strict scientific standards in generating hypotheses, science will end in a deadlock. For this reason I am willing to give Svensmark “a lot of leash”, even if his has given “a short weight” in his publication being discussed in this thread.
Peter Laut has not ruled out the solar influence on global warming. Peter Laut has focused on some weak points in Svensmark’s data handling. Svensmark has not until now produced an answer to Peter Laut’s criticism nor produced an updated analysis using the same set up. Since Svensmark has not done so, Peter Laut’s criticism is still valid.
The Urban heat island effect keeps coming up as a cause of “apparent” rise of temperatures. Is there any truth to this? Is there any UHIE? I read somewhere that there is no longer any adjustment to the temp record to adjust for this. Can someone comment please
The Urban heat island effect keeps coming up as a cause of “apparent” rise of temperatures. Is there any truth to this? Is there any UHIE? I read somewhere that there is no longer any adjustment to the temp record to adjust for this. Can someone comment please
It’s even worse for the satellites, you know … can you say International Space Station?
A “Climate Change Misinformation Act” would have the opposite effect of the one intended. Extremely bad idea, IMO. It will serve to further inflame the denialist camp, many of whom already believe that they get shut out of serious discussions, and that scientists are not objective because their research grants depend on them saying what the politicians want them to say. Stick to the Joe Friday, “Just the facts, ma’am” approach; be careful to qualify theories and conclusions. Only reality will convince the lay public. Regardless of what the denialists say, glaciers shrink, sea level keeps rising, and the tree species that grow in the northwest continue to change.
Comment by Geno Canto del Halcon — 29 Nov 2009 @ 1:42 PM
Ray #17, You seem to miss the point. Democracy empowers us to make it illegal to deceive the public (as with false advertising) and to practice various professions without a license, (as with law and medicine). Our U.S. democratic laws allow us to, for example, prohibit a car manufacturer from claiming their car gets 30 miles per gallon when the truth is, according to a government appointed authority, that the car gets only 25 miles per gallon. Car manufacturers do not have the liberty, under our democracy, to challenge that government appointed authority by creating commercials and advertisements that say “The U.S. Government is telling you our car gets only 25 miles per gallon, but it is wrong. Our car really does get 30 miles per gallon.” If a car company tried that under the guise of First Amendment rights, the courts would throw out such a case so quickly it would make their heads spin.
Or consider something more controversial. The Surgeon General has established that marijuana is unsafe, regardless of evidence that it is safer than alcohol. Imagine what would happen if an organization like NORMAL started publishing television advertisements stating that, contrary to the Surgeon General’s conclusions, marijuana poses no significant health risks, and is safer than alcohol. That same Right Wing who would champion free speech rights when it comes to climate change would raise holy hell and, if federal drug laws do not already prohibit such advertisements, would appeal to Congress and the President to immediately pass such legislation.
The truth is that there is much, much, more evidence that global warming is a monumentally greater risk to civilisation than that marijuana is more harmful to human health than alcohol. I’m sorry, Ray, but our democracy and free speech laws allow for the kind of legislation I am proposing. That is quite clear. If you can think of ANY better way to get the public to understand the grave threat we face, I’d like to hear it. Otherwise, I don’t think we have any other reasonable option but to simply make the mass publishing of misinformation on global warming by non-professionals illegal.
Martin (20), We’ve been trying your suggestion, in principle, and it has not worked. Corporations simply have much more money at their disposal than any climate change defense fund could probably ever accumulate.
Allowing corporations and associations to, out of ignorance or basic self interest, deceive the public on an issue so threatening to public health as climate change is simply immoral and needs to be made illegal. If we don’t understand and act on that simple fact, civilization, as we know it, does not deserve to, and will very likely not, survive.
I suggest that the world’s major climate change scientists draft and sign a letter, and send that letter to the legislators of all of the world’s countries demanding this climate change misinformation legislation. That act alone would do a great deal to get the public to understand the gravity of the global warming threat.
Given the moderation policy at this site I have zero confidence that this will be posted but here goes.
I am really very surprised at the level of snide dismissive ad hominem attacks on people merely questioning methodology, transparency, the validity of extremely complex models founded on very little evidence. But apparently this is par for the course. I guess it is easier to demonize dissenters as stooges of imbecile politicians like Inhofe or evil petro-business. Actually demonize seems to be on the gentle end of the spectrum. George Ortega wants to lock them up. That suggestion seems to pass consensus, yet the only post that the moderator feels needs correction and editing is Steve’s comment #11 above suggesting that knocking down the impact of solar activity as a single causation of GW is a strawman beatdown.
If you really care about the impact of AGW you will reconsider. Using blackballing on top of bad science is not a way to accomplish these ends. I was educated in the social sciences and my career is in software development so I do have an understanding of where the whole climate model space exists on the spectrum of science. You folks are much closer to psychology than chemistry than you like to admit, so a toning down of the scientific certainty attitude is more than overdue.
It does surprise me when I realize that you see yourselves as the Galileo in this scenario. You are not. You are the orthodoxy locking up the dissenters. The mere existence of flat earthers like Senator Inhofe does not make your version rounder.
And look, the real issue that gets so little attention is that there are public policy actions that could make sense if you are 100% right as well as if you are mostly wrong. Instead of creating a new flim flam derivative market in “carbon credits” to enrich the same traders responsible for the 2008 crash while you consign the developing world to poverty in the mad pursuit of the CO2 bogeyman, why not just take the same trillions of dollars you want to set on fire and simply subsidize solar and wind power to incent it, or fund battery research to be able to take advantage of it.
As someone who believes that climate change is a real issue (more than single threaded warming per se) and that human activity has some role, that CO2 is a factor but obviously not the only one, that there are undoubtedly other factors, and that the “science” behind climate models is in its infancy, impossible to validate, half made up, and now more than ever quite transparently driven by petty politics as much as data that it seems a little awkward to read you pots calling any kettles black. Let alone the really shiny ones.
George Ortega says, “Democracy empowers us to make it illegal to deceive the public (as with false advertising) and to practice various professions without a license, (as with law and medicine).”
It also gives us the right to stop being a democracy if we stop being vigilant. I do not favor remedying one antidemocratic trend (the neutering and self-censorship of a free press) with another (censorship of speech). I suspect that Exx-Mob will one day pay severe damages to island nations who contend their inundation could have been avoided had we not been prevented from acting. However, even this misses the point. The question is whether people are smart enough to look at evidence rather than simply believing what they want to believe. It is a litmus test for our survival.
George Ortega wants to lock them up. That suggestion seems to pass consensus
Reading comprehension problem? Not a single person has supported George Ortega’s suggestion, which would not only be unconstitutional in the United States, but morally and ethically wrong.
I was educated in the social sciences and my career is in software development so I do have an understanding of where the whole climate model space exists on the spectrum of science.
Nothing in either of those fields makes you competent to make such a claim.
You folks are much closer to psychology than chemistry than you like to admit, so a toning down of the scientific certainty attitude is more than overdue.
Nothing more than an assertion from presumed personal superiority.
It does surprise me when I realize that you see yourselves as the Galileo in this scenario. You are not. You are the orthodoxy locking up the dissenters
1. The orthodoxy was long “we don’t need to worry about any potential AGW”. Dissenters like Hansen were long the dissenters to orthodoxy.
2. The dissenters aren’t “locked up”, those who do actual scientific work are published. Spencer, Christy, Lindzen, Svensmark, etc are all published. The fact that their work is subsequently shot down due to shoddiness (sign error in the UAH MSU temp reconstructions, anyone?) is their problem, not a problem for “orthodoxy”.
As someone who believes that climate change is a real issue (more than single threaded warming per se) and that human activity has some role, that CO2 is a factor but obviously not the only one, that there are undoubtedly other factors, and that the “science” behind climate models is in its infancy, impossible to validate, half made up, and now more than ever quite transparently driven by petty politics as much as data that it seems a little awkward to read you pots calling any kettles black.
Let’s see how our self-styled Galileo stacks up against the orthodoxy he dislikes so much …
1. “CO2 is a factor but obviously not the only one” – check. Orthodox, not Galilean.
2. “there are undoubtedly other factors” – check. Orthodox.
3. “the “science” behind climate models is in its infancy” – unsupported assertion from a personal sense of superiority. Not Galilean, that’s for sure. Nor orthodox. Irrelevant without supporting arguments that can be tested for correctness.
4. “impossible to validate” – check. Orthodox. Neither can those models used to design airliners, bridges, etc. Still, they’re useful, just as climate models are.
5. “half made up” – unsupported assertion from a personal sense of superiority, with no evidence submitted. Which half is “made up”? The comments? The code? Please be specific. GISS Model E source is online, you’re a software developer, I’ve been a software engineer for nearly 40 years, so if you can point me to even a small portion of the half that’s “made up”, I’ll take a look to see if you know what you’re talking about.
6. “now more than ever quite transparently driven by petty politics” – as above. Show me, in the source, the exact portions of GISS Model E that is transparently driven by petty politics. I eagerly await enlightenment.
RE #27 DHOGAZA thank you for your most informative comment. I googled the term and came up with a youtube video that shows using rural stations vrs urban temperature recording stations The conclusion was that by using rural stations within 50 kilometers of the urban stations there was no warming while the urban stations show warming. Is this correct or perhaps the rural stations were cherry picked to show just this??Or is this as dhogaze”s attitude would suggest is the UHIE an ” inconvenient Truth”
While I greatly appreciated Gavin making a recent post here showing where all the data can be downloaded, it doesn’t change the fact that the CRU Email showed  scientific misconduct.
[Response: I would like to state for the record that neither I nor anyone at RC condones scientific misconduct. We should all strive for the highest ethical standards in the conduct of scientific research. The fact remains that no actual scientific misconduct has been revealed by the emails. No falsification of data, no plagiarism and no grand conspiracy. Should any of those things come to light, we would of course condemn them. But no determination of scientific misconduct is going to be made on the basis of your misreading and quoting out of context stuff from the emails. - gavin]
I disagree that climate change misinformation legislation would have the opposite effect. If we had decades to wage this debate in the forum of public opinion, perhaps the truth would win out. Consider the following. Regardless of the solid scientific consensus on evolution, a Gallop 2007 poll revealed that 49 percent of the public believes in evolution while 48 percent do not. That poll shows why empowering the public to be judge and arbiter of the global warming debate is so dangerous. By the time, if ever, the public got around to understanding the extent of the threat of climate change, it would be far, far too late. We have given the public more than enough time to understand that threat, and they clearly do not have the scientific capacity to do so. Imagine the kind of world we would live in if we left decisions about product safety to laypeople instead of professionals. No. We have gone the public route on climate change, and it has failed miserably. To continue that strategy would be the height of folly. We have many, many laws that curb our free speech rights. It’s time we created laws that constrain media corporations and organizations from publishing anything but the conclusions of a central global authority on climate change.
We do not have to give up democracy to deny corporations the right to misinform the public about an issue so vitally important as climate change. Would you defend the right of people to practice medicine without a license, including the performing of surgery? I don’t think so, because you recognize the danger in doing that. By opening up the climate change debate to any novelist or lay person, that is exactly what we are doing, except with far more grave consequences. As I said before, if people have something to contribute to the climate change debate, let them go through the standard scientific process of peer-review. If not, they should not have the right to endanger civilization with their ignorant or self-serving or simply confusing two cents.
No, I’m not trying to stifle debate on climate change. I am trying to limit it to the peer review process. The public is simply not adequately scientifically equipped to rationally weigh in on the subject, and if every global warming denier and skeptic has just as much of a right to submit their conclusions to peer-review publications as any other scientist or person, then the debate continues. What I am trying to stop is selfish and irresponsible corporations and associations from intentionally or simply misguidedly attempting to confuse the public on global warming. We can no longer afford that kind of reckless confusion to prevail.
And we don’t have the luxury of having the facts “speak for themselves” to a public in no way capable of distinguishing climate change facts from nonsense. Yes, I’m calling for global warming misinformation to be not just a criminal offense, but also a severe criminal offense. Far more of a criminal offense than it is for car manufacturers to lie about their car’s mpg rating or safety features, because the risk to public safety from global warming is far greater.
You bring up a good point. Not a single person has supported my climate misinformation legislation proposal. I suppose people confuse free speech with the right of non-professionals to weigh in on a subject about which they are in no way qualified. I suppose that perhaps these people do not understand how much free speech is already curbed in society, and in the vast majority of cases with good reason. I suppose that people value their right to say whatever they want over the right of their children and grandchildren to have a chance at a proper life. If that is the case, our humanity is so morally confused and depraved that our civilization does not seem to deserve to continue.
Your point, however, about a climate change misinformation act being unconstitutional in the U.S. is clearly wrong. I cited the Surgeon General’s conclusion that cigarette smoking is a danger to the public health, and the subsequent laws censoring the right of cigarette manufactures to challenge that conclusion in television commercials or other public advertisements. Those laws are completely constitutional. Your comments make it appear that you are more concerned with the right of anyone to say whatever they wish than the right of society to be protected from public health risks and the self-serving motivations of various unscrupulous or misguided individuals and corporations. There are many, many laws now on the books in every country in the world that take issue with the libertarian “individual rights trumps everything else” philosophy.
Lastly, with your Galileo analogy, you presume that I as a layperson am making pronouncements and conclusions regarding the science of climate change. I am certainly not because I fully understand that I do not have the scientific training or knowledge to make such decisions. And I don’t want our public policy on climate change dictated by others similarly ignorant. As I said before, we should leave climate change exclusively to the peer-review process, and make illegal fall other attempts to weigh in on the debate, because they are so dangerous.
The fact that you did not post your full name tells me you don’t really stand behind your words.
The general gist of your post is so old and tired and has been heard ad infinitum on this site. You may actually think you are the first to try to refute science with red herring distractions but its really, really old hat here.
Simply put, some things are more certain than others. Your pointing out that same old argument to support an unsupportable claim illustrates that you should tone down your rhetoric and increase your study time.
I can point you to where the Co2 Boogeyman is well defined but since you are an anonymous poster, you might not care. Please feel free to prove me wrong.
The vague nature of your statements lends me to believe that you are not interested in specifics that can easily be refuted, or you simply don’t understand climate science at all and therefore can not be specific easily.
Your statements in your last paragraph simply show that you don’t understand the relevance of the various influences in climate in relation to pre-industrial forcings.
Post your full name and study the science so you can ask meaningful questions, rather than spouting unsubstantiated flotsam onto the surface of your perspective in the public pool of climate communications.
. Is this correct or perhaps the rural stations were cherry picked to show just this??
The point, of course, is that the satellite temperature record also shows warming, as just about any signal you can think of in the natural world, from arctic sea ice trends, horticultural zones in the US, migration arrival dates, northward push of more southern species (a lot of that happening on the US west coast with birds), northern expansion of range of pine bark beetles, etc etc.
Knowing that everything we look at points to warming, do you think you could perhaps answer your own question?
It’s not just scientists making shit up, it’s birds, ice, plants, bugs, etc making shit up, all part of the Global Warming Hoax, dude.
Hi Gavin… Seeing as we’ve all read the emails and looked at the code, maybe we can just disagree on “scientific misconduct”. Would you agree at least that it is “unscientific conduct”? I think what everyone needs to hear is not things like “the email reads bad”, but more like, “we realize that in many cases we’ve strayed from the high standards of conduct science requires and will correct that”.
From a strictly PR point of view, you may want to revisit the Intel handling of the ‘pentium bug’, where they dismissed it as ‘not a problem’ (in that case in fact it wasn’t), and paid the price later.
To just repeat ‘there isn’t a problem’ in light of what we’ve all seen suggests to many that there may be bigger problems.
[Response: A claim of scientific misconduct is a serious business. I have seen nothing in these emails that even remotely approaches such a standard. There are people being rude. There are people clearly saying ill-advised things (one case in particular). There are people venting and indulging in hyperbole. None of that is scientific misconduct. If you want to insist that there is such a thing, make a case for it. Where is there evidence of plagiarism? Where is there evidence of falsification of data? This is completely separate from whether or not there is 'a problem' revealed here. The problem of harassment of climate scientists to the point where they can't do their real work is very real. Is it a problem that they get defensive sometimes. Sure. But I'm not going to agree that there are undefined 'problems' revealed here that we need to tackle, just to gain some PR points. - gavin]
I am sympathetic to the idea of a law that would make false statements about climate change illegal. At this juncture, they are as toxic as dioxin. However, such an effort would probably have considerable blow back. The deniers would, no doubt, claim that the scientists could not justify their arguments on scientific grounds and were resorting to political tactics. I am not optimistic about how this would play out.
Instead, I have another suggestion. Has anyone thought about a libel suit? I’m not a lawyer, but it does seem to me that a variety of statements attacking climate scientists do meet the criteria of libel. First, they are false. Second, they cause harm. Third, in at least some of the cases, the source was malicious, that is, they knew what they were saying was false and intended the harm.
If the scientist is not a public figure, she does not have to prove the third point. But most scientists probably would be ruled public figures, since they published in academic journals on topics they knew would invite public scrutiny. The third point is where a lot of libel suits break down. Proving malice is hard, but not impossible.
I know what I am talking about. I did win a libel suit against a politician who called me, in effect, an ecoterrorist. He, and a number of other people, “misread” a book review I wrote on the Unabomber’s Manifesto that I published in “Theory and Event,” an online journal sponsored by Johns Hopkins University. We settled out of court, when he agreed to fully retract his statements about me on his website. It was wonderfully delicious making him eat his words.
It does seem to me like a couple of scientists involved in this website need to be talking to lawyers. If you do, you must be very careful to make sure that you hire a good lawyer, one that knows really well what they are doing, and one that won’t cut and run when things get ugly. Most lawsuits are won and lost as soon as the lawyers are hired. The winning side usually has the hardest working lawyer. On this issue, I imagine there would be lots of public minded lawyers out there willing to take the deniers on.
A libel suit is not the ideal course of action, since it doesn’t exactly the main issue, focusing on personal harm instead of public harm, but there really aren’t that many alternatives out there that will force people to tell the truth about something as vitally important as climate change.
One thing I’ve tried to point out before to deniers is that a body like the IPCC, given that it is “intergovernmental”, is like to underplay, understate, rather than overstate, the actual threat posed by anthropogenic global warming. Very little likelihood that such a body would over report it. Intergovernmental bodies and their documents just don’t work that way. The conclusions drawn based on the research would be vetted and debated and anguished over. When I read the IPCC assessment reports, I tend to add in a 10-20% factor to whatever I’m reading just to account for this tendency to be on the conservative side. I’ve worked on a few intergovernmental documents before and believe me, getting consensus on any statement, let alone one with such significant economic implications, is like pulling hen’s teeth.
#52 Yes, and in addition we know that some governments in particular (the US under Bush comes to mind for no particular reason) demanded that risks be understated, science watered down, lower end of probabilities emphasized. As we are seeing now where the actual measurements are all in the top )or bottom) end of IPC probabilities or even outside them (John Cook is good on this at http://skepticalscience.com/Physical-realities-of-global-warming.html). Do the denialists know this and deny it, or do they really not understand that having a body with representatives from all over the world inevitably has resulted in caution not hyperbole?
Climate change is not the only challenge ahead. We will have a no carbon economy by the end of the century. Either we will have developed a renewable economy, or we will have no economy because the fossil fuels will have run out.
Gwynne Dyer used a quote “when faced with the choice of starvation or raiding, humans raid”. While climate change is going to be bad, very bad, the resultant conflicts will be worse.
Even without ocean acidification, we have fished out so much ocean that almost half our food fish comes from fish farms.
The nitrogen cycle is well out of balance, a global crisis in its own right.
Species extinction is proceeding at a raid rate even where climate change is not yet a significant issue.
So many of our would be leaders running around fingers in ears going “not real, not real” is a sure sign that most of our adaption will be post event. We will not raise the levees until New Orleans has flooded again and again.
There is virtually no chance that society will cope with the inevitable changes ahead. Much milder changes have seen massive collapses continental in scope, we now have world wide society and world wide change.
Gavin, there are more kinds of misconduct than just plagarism or falsifying data. And how can we know if they did falsify data when they ignore FOIA requests and have emails out asking people to destroy items for a FOIA requst? Why do they only provide massaged data and not raw data?
They have excuses for them, but that is all they are.
[Response: Yup, I'm sure it's a conspiracy that will simply come apart as soon as an FOI request is received. Listen to yourself. - gavin]
I disagree with a new Act simply because it is unnecessary. We already have statutes, both criminal and civil, against the actions of CC denialist. It is already illegal/barred by statute to endanger the public by false statements. One will be prosecuted if causing a stampede in a theater with a false alarm of “Fire!”
We need no new legislation, we simply need for everyone involved to stop fearing the denialists and worrying about being called an alarmist for doing what is clearly rational. The facts are in: dangerous climatic effects are afoot. Change is rapid on not only geologic, but human, time scales.
There is, literally, no science supporting a non-ACC stance. Were this a court of law, climate science would easily win the case were you to have a judge and jury conversant in the scientific method.
More importantly, we have the proof of collusion by Big Industry and conservative think tanks. We can prove they were formed for the purpose of denial. We can prove their provenance via Big Tobacco. We can show a pattern of behavior (as all the police dramas like to dramatize.)
What we don’t have is a scientific community and an activist community that is willing to tell the public the absolute truth: we are in danger of destroying civilization as we know it. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but risk assessment and history tell us massive disruptions can come, and that this period of stability that allowed civilization to blossom is anomalous. Based on that *alone*, our survival as a global civilization is suspect. Virtually all (all?) natural systems go through boom and busts, equilibrium and disequilibrium. We are pushing the system to very probable greater gyrations than it might achieve of its own accord.
Our forebears went through ice age cycles while small, mobile hunter-gatherers, not as settled billions living in cities. Complex systems do not stand up to major disruptions left to themselves. They crash. They require constant maintenance and repair. Denialists are preventing that repair.
If we are willing to say smokers do not have the to murder us slowly in public, that drinkers do not have the right to murder us quickly with their vehicles, that corporations do not have the right to murder us slowly with their illegal dumping and short-circuiting of drug approval processes, etc., then how can climate denialists be allowed to commit sui-genocide?
All that need be done is for people involved to invoke the laws that already exist. Less such actions, I guarantee you we will fail because the deluded and lied to will either prevent, or refuse to take, action until the Arctic is ice free and the clathrates are billowing to the surface en mass.
This may be unpalatable, but the last twenty years prove this rationale to be so. Just look, now, when ACC science is incontrovertible, denialists are at their zenith in their ability to affect policy and, especially, public attitude – and you will not stop ACC without the developed and developing nations’ citizen accepting a new paradigm of sustainable societies.
Get them in court. Make them prove ACC scientists are liars, frauds, conspirators. Take them to court and make them disprove the corporate payments for their opinions, the memos they claimed didn’t exist, the truth that they KNEW they were lying, and have done virtually nothing to correct the perception they still believe their denials made in the past.
The best thing that could happen at this point is for the science to go on trial because it is a slam dunk. At the very least, the claims against the science and scientists would be shown to be lies, thus eviscerating the anti crowd’s ability to destroy via innuendo.
One of the things that bothers me about the way this is unfolding is that it’s reminding me of the gross overall misconception by the public on this issue, and part of it is very fundamental:
Average people seem to think that “scientists” or “climate scientists” are just a small handful of people dominating all research and all that which is published.
Nothing could be further from the truth. There are 1000s of scientists working on different pieces of the many puzzles as they unfold. A look at the list of authors on the IPCC reports confirms this – open up the “authors” section in the Annexes scroll down about half way and be prepared to have your mind blown by the sheer numbers of people working on climate research in those reports alone!
If anything can help with PR going forward, I think it would be very useful to try and find ways to remind people that these emails, while containing some well known names, are just exchanges between a tiny percentage of a sea of researchers, including many important researchers whose work may never end up in an IPCC report.
I think that Laut’s letter is important, but I’m inclined to agree with another poster who said that it’s an old story with the same players. That said, it is only so if you’ve been paying attention, and not many people pay attention as closely as some of us do.
What I’ve found over all with the “it’s the sun” crowd is that they seem to want to ignore CO2 completely, and try to make the case that solar influence is the only influence. Well, this just isn’t a scientific way of thinking, particularly regarding the atmosphere and other Earth systems. Their arguments can start to sound convincing (if you don’t notice the flaws in the data and the pretty obvious decoupling since the 70s) until you step back and realize they’re leaving out any other possibilities, which comes down to (perceived) correlation leading to (perceived) causation. Tsk tsk.
All the research I’ve done to date shows me that CO2 is a primary influence, and that in all cases of massive paleoclimate changes and mass extinctions, CO2 is usually the dominant driver (aside from impacts, but that’s only a small story, especially if looking at lots of smaller extinction events like Hangenburg, etc., not just the big five) coupled with other factors and feedbacks. The “it’s the sun” crowd seems to want to pretend we can’t (or don’t) have ways to measure and infer the other factors involved, or that they’re too negligible to matter. Maybe it’s my initial training as an ecologist that helps me see how silly this is, because early on, I was taught how vastly interdependent biological systems are. I think everyone would benefit from this kind of study in order to realize that in nature, rarely is one force alone ever at work.
No one would have to prove some anti-AGW case to kill the bill. They could just point out that if it passed it would provide a wonderful (and potentially far-reaching) precedent for the State to limit all sorts of speech- in an emergency, and for all our own good, of course.
We the taxpayer wish for all data/methods/algorithms/notes be made available to the public in a fully documented manner. We understand this is a “pain in the butt” for you so we have no problem spending money to hire people to do the work for you. We prefer that you spend your time researching. This is nothing personal. We will hire independent and capable people to assist so that your time is minimally infringed upon. We the taxpayer believe such data must be made available because serious doubts have arisen in the public’s perception. Being quiet, like it or not, could make the public become skeptical. If you truly care about the planet and truly care about the science we do not believe this request is “over the top”. If it is resources you need they will be provided. All you need to do is ask. We take no position in AGW. All we want is the truth.
By far the best discussion I’ve come across of the issue is this – but why aren’t the press outlets interviewing scientists like this one (who happens to be Director at ORNL’s Center for Biomolecular Physics):
However, the U.S. media clearly has a horse in the race, the same horse that the fossil fuel lobby is riding. For example – George Will said that “we are wagering trillions of dollars and a substantial loss of freedom on climate models” in regard to the CRU hack – which ABC reported on – but they didn’t cover the substance, and merely said that opponents say that the emails reveal fraud. ABC did not conduct any sort of investigation or even ask for a rebuttal – that was their intro to George Will. Dishonest, biased yellow journalism? That’s what it looks like.
ABC is owned by the media holding company Disney. Do the major shareholders at Disney have any bets riding on fossil fuels? Well, first we must identify the major shareholders and some of their ancillary interests: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=DIS
Disney (ABC) holdings
FMR LLC -$2,607,692,712
Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd – $1,895,011,497
STATE STREET CORPORATION – $1,768,494,874
VANGUARD GROUP, INC. – $1,671,690,932
FMR LLC 44,853,890 – $3,077,425,392
Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd – $14,533,612,252
STATE STREET CORPORATION – $11,912,422,296
VANGUARD GROUP, INC. – $11,420,083,042
STATE STREET CORPORATION – $6,537,857,164
Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd – $6,448,528,260
VANGUARD GROUP, INC. – $5,017,846,342
FMR LLC - $2,892,232,389
Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd – $3,399,239,624
STATE STREET CORPORATION – $2,341,245,324
VANGUARD GROUP, INC. – $2,307,240,883
As we’ve seen, when the science and news team at CNN (owned my media holding company TimeWarner, owned in turn by many fossil fuel banks) started running reports on Arctic ice melt without contacting the API & ACCCE “media scientists” for dishonest quotes, they were all fired and control was placed in the hand of “senior executives.”
It’s the height of naivete to think that these press outlets are going to be reporting honestly on climate science – and the “climategate” theme that’s been parroted by everyone from the NYT to the WaPo to ABC and even fluff magazines like Salon.com is just more proof that this is the case.
Indeed, Chris Mooney’s “The Republican War on Science” might need to be rewritten – “The Corporate Media’s War on Science” is a far more accurate title. As far as why? What do you think would happen to the profits of those fossil fuel companies if their tar sand imports and coal-to-gasoline plans and heavy sour crude imports were all banned under binding emissions legislation, while government subsidies instead went to wind, solar and photosynthetic fuels? The banks that own them would lose billions – more than the value of their entire media investments, no doubt. Thus, if media outlets start reporting accurately on climate change, they instruct the Board to tell the CEO to fire the science team – unless someone has some alternative explanation for the firing of the entire CNN science team?
My own faith in climate science hasn’t been shaken by this episode, but I’m pretty dumfounded at behavior that hands what Pierrehumbert calls the “inactivists” — many of whom are working as fronts for the energy industry — a big stick to clobber me with. Please don’t hide behind invasion of privacy.
Like his other conglomerated media allies, Leonard refuses to discuss the so-called ‘data manipulation’ – the tree ring records – and he also refuses to discuss the fact that “climategate” was a coordinated effort between the fossil fuel lobby and the fossil fuel-owned corporate U.S. press! Moreover, is there a single news outlet in the U.S. that wouldn’t scream about betrayal of confidentiality, if all their emails were hacked and dumped online somewhere? Every time there is a confidentiality issue with reporters and sources, the media outlets fight to protect themselves – they sure wouldn’t be running story after story about it in the leadup to Copenhagen.
This is why we may very well need anti-trust legislation that bans media holding companies and gives media employees more rights and protections as a precursor to getting effective changes in energy production – because without reliable information, you can’t make good decisions, and the U.S. media has been remarkably un-reliable recently.
Thus, if bad climate science wasn’t there to be promoted, they’d invent it themselves – but no need, the API and ACCCE “media scientists” are waiting and ready.
Wade Sirkoski !!! A Climate Change misinformation Bill, have you thought this through, what will be the penalty if somebody infringes such a thing, imprisonment, hanging, flogging, who will decide what is the Truth! will it be Real Climate, Phil Jones, ????
No problem if you don’t have the time of familiarity to answer that yourself, and I understand this isn’t your code. Until it is explained I think it has to stand as ‘evidence’ of data falsification though (and yes I have followed the code through myself and I do understand IDL).
;****** APPLIES A VERY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION FOR DECLINE*********
yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904] ;note 1
2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
[Response: No you don't. You just need to see that valadj is transformed to yearlyadj and that the line putting yearlyadj into the main array is commented out. This is not a piece of code that is functional, and the calculation (if uncommented) appears in no scientific paper. Codes with research dead ends litter every researchers hard-drive. - gavin]
“Who is to blame for the development of this irrational cult of a postulated solar influence upon the Earth’s climate?
The IPCC is not without responsibility for providing the free ride for solar crusaders.”
Exactly. Wag the dog.
-Solar activity, volcanic activity, cosmic rays, and orbital cycles
(can you guess what is missing from this crude list?)
George, I’m sympathetic, but I think your suggestion would be a huge mistake in practice. I’m sympathetic because concern for the truth, and appreciation for the value of good epistemology is severely lacking in our society. The problem is, how to change the prevailing culture, to one that values truth seeking, over agenda pumping. I think that is a very longterm project -but a very worthwhile one. Threatening to force the issue would only generate a huge backlash. I also think it would be much easier to push major emissions caps or carbon tax, than pushing through your program. The fact that we aren’t close to being able to do that means your proposal has no chance. So we have to work on improving the quality of debate/thinking, one step at a time.
In response to, “I am really very surprised at the level of snide dismissive ad hominem attacks on people merely questioning methodology, transparency, the validity of extremely complex models founded on very little evidence”:
Let’s start with “very little evidence.” To even say that shows that you haven’t surveyed the evidence. Because it would take you many, many months to survey it. At the end of which you couldn’t say “very little evidence” with a straight face. In saying those words, you’re not only launching a dishonest attack on the science, but on the integrity of those doing the science. Those words thus constitute a “snide dismissive ad hominem attack.” Yet I doubt you’re surprised by yourself.
Now let’s go to the “validity of extremely complex models.” But of course the models are complex! The evidence itself is not just massive, but multi-dimensional. You find these models aren’t “transparent”? Have you done any programming? Even the best coders writing their clearest code can’t follow it themselves without immersing themselves in it for days at a time. It’s true whether you’re modeling climate, or modeling aerodynamics of an aircraft. You trust the airplanes you ride to stay up, right? Even though their airworthiness depends on “extremely complex models” that surely aren’t “transparent” to you?
The idea that the “urban heat island” is significantly skewing global temperature trends was essentially debunked by Peterson, et al., 1999. They showed that calculating the global temperature with urban stations removed produced nearly the same result as a calculation that used all the data.
Peterson, T., et al., 1999: Global rural temperature trends, Geophysical Res. Letters, 26, 329 – 332
The answer to bad speech is more speech. You can’t “silence” the critics, they have to do that themselves. What the country needs is MORE information not less, a forum where the critics can raise their questions (once only) and let the points be hammered flat in a public way that is impossible to ignore. Almost all the cr@p science problems we have are repetitions of the SAME cr@p science in blogs around the country.
The way to handle them is to publicly dismantle all the arguments they can muster. Allocate plenty of time for this, they’re a vociferous bunch, but don’t give them forever, or the opportunity to go back and figure out more questions. A week perhaps.
There may be a couple of unresolved issues left once the public thrashing has been completed, but those are going to be genuine questions that we actually should be finding answers to anyway and they are NOT going to influence the conclusion that anyone with 3 working brain cells must draw from looking at the facts.
Moreover, the fact of the conference and the taped answers would be available from then onto silence the repetitions of the same old chorus, and the folks trying to manufacture doubt would have a LOT less to work with.
The media could fund a chunk of this. It would be (I think) a worthwhile exercise. All we need are scientists with the tongues of angels and the patience of saints :-) .
However, I think you guys will have to do it instead.
I understand your concern regarding blowback from proposing climate change misinformation legislation, but ask yourself what other options are out there to get the global public focused enough soon enough on global warming, and to give our best scientists center stage in the media long enough for them to make their case. This is the main concern we face. If we wait for the warming to create enough natural disasters to convince everyone, that will be too, too late. We’ve tried public discourse and it has failed for an obvious reason; the public does not have the sufficient scientific background to understand either the problem or its potential solutions.
If a climate change misinformation law passed, and there is no good reason why it should not, the global warming deniers could shout and scream until their heads fell off and it wouldn’t matter. The law would be in place and networks like Fox News would either begin to publish the consensus-based scientific facts about global warming, or they would first pay huge fines, and then ultimately lose their licence to broadcast and have their head decision makers do major prison time.
I think your concerns regarding libel suits are on the mark. Many global warming deniers are not so much malicious as ignorant and irresponsible, much in the same way Sarah Palin could not be called malicious for thinking she was qualified to be a heartbeat away from the U.S. presidency.
Given that it is estimated to cost an additional $500 billion for each year that we postpone major action on climate change, and given that we are still at risk of an abrupt, major and irreversible increase in global warming that could occur at any time, I don’t see that we have any rational choice but to make the publishing of misinformation illegal and finally get on with the business of action on global warming. As you acknowledged, the libel route if filled with problems, including it getting into the hands of a Libertarian or Right Wing Judge with an agenda. A climate change misinformation act would certainly succeed at getting people to understand exactly how serious our scientists and governments consider the global warming problem to be. And once that happened, the political will to address it would be possible.
I very much hope you are right, but I am not aware of legislation currently on the books in the U.S. that would apply to climate change. Denying climate change is much different than shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre because the latter is clearly a malicious act while the former may simply be incredibly reckless and misguided. I would be very interested to know what existing statutes empower us to go after climate change deniers in a court of law. But even that approach has the same problem as with the libel litigation that Wade Sikorski proposed. If the trial ended up in the court of a Right Wing activist judge, it could easily fail. Even if it were appealed to the U.S. Supremer Court, we have five Conservative Judges now on the bench who stole the 2000 election for Bush, and will very soon consider granting U.S. corporations the right to make unlimited donations to political campaigns (which would, of course kill what is left of the American democracy). These judges are quite capable of opting for their Conservative ideology over the fate of civilisation. At that point it would be necessary for Obama to appoint two entirely new Supreme Court justices, bringing the total to eleven, who would overturn any denier or skeptic-protecting decisions.
Again, I hope you’re right about there being statutes in place that would apply to climate change misinformation that need only be upheld. It would help if someone with a legal background could weigh in at this point with more details.
“Who is to blame for the development of this irrational cult of a postulated solar influence upon the Earth’s climate?”
Is it irrational to postulate that the sun has an influence on earth’s climate?
I would have thought that without the sun there would be NO climate at all.
Comment by Richard Steckis — 29 Nov 2009 @ 8:41 PM
We already have many, many laws prohibiting misinformation, like prohibiting corporations from making claims about drugs that have not been substantiated by science, or that have not been approved by a government authority like the FDA. There is no basis to the fear that creating a climate change misinformation act would eventually lead to the curtailment of many other forms of good free speech. You could just as well apply your fear to all anti-drug legislation by saying that if we make some drugs illegal we would be on the slippery slope to making all drugs illegal. Your fear as been shown by over a hundred years of laws curbing free speech to be unfounded.
John Cooknell #66,
Under the legislation I am proposing common citizens would still retain every freedom to weigh in on the global warming debate as much as they would like. The prohibition targets corporations and large organizations who now spend big money in campaigns that challenge the scientific consensus on climate change. The law would require that any conclusions they publish would have to first go through the peer-review process. As for penalties, I think that very heavy fines followed by the threat of revoking a corporation’s operating charter or a media corporation’s broadcasting licence would be sufficient to deter corporate misinformation on climate change. And if we needed to imprison top corporation executives for repeated and flagrant violations, that would be very in keeping with the egregious nature of their crimes against humanity.
How about we gather all of the information,bunk data and nasty comments from the denier crowd into a 60mb package and give them a dose of their own medicine…will a congressman launch a congressional committee on that or will it turn into a “eco-bully” meme.
Whatever it is, we still lose. The talkers have decided they don’t like Climate change, so our politicians must follow in lock step.
i am not a scientist but here is my observation, that needs an analysis.
in the northeast of the united states during spring 2009 we had a pretty cold spring and well into late spring acording to average years, and during fall 2009 season it was more warm compared to other years.
now here is my analysis, all this is evidance and makes sense to me of man made climate change (if this was a global phenominon not just a northeaster) due to we had a globel great recession in the spring of 2009 therbuy less production and less transports therfore less carbons in the atmosphere, and when the global economy kicked into gear in the summer therebuy increasing production and transports therefore increasing polution and carbons and lagging into fall, thats why we have a unusual warm fall season.
so it is pretty clear that this was not of changes in the sun, rather changes in human behavior.
“We understand this is a “pain in the butt” for you so we have no problem spending money to hire people to do the work for you.”
Bull. If that were true ‘you’ (and how pompous of you to assume the voice of all taxpayers) would fund climate science sufficiently so that labs could hire enough programmers, statisticians, and other support staff at researcher request. As things stand THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN. So what happens instead is that a budget supports just one guy to spend four years reconciling a bunch of disparate datasets in order to update a piece of software — as documnented in the supposed smoking gun ‘Harry’ logs. It appears to that CRU could use some money to support more IT security workers.
Comment by Steven Sullivan — 29 Nov 2009 @ 10:05 PM
Btw, Gavin, one thing I’d like to see more clarity on is what proportion of total HadCRU emails this hacked cache represents, from the years covered? In other words, how much ‘selection’ has been undertaken by the hackers?
[Response: I imagine that people get something like 50 non-spam emails a day, and imagining that you are pretty good at tidying up the stuff that isn't important, maybe 20 substantive mails, 5 days a week, 3 people at CRU, 50 weeks a year, 10 year period = ~150,000 emails. So 1000 out of that is less than 1%. That's pretty selective (so far). - gavin]
Comment by Steven Sullivan — 29 Nov 2009 @ 10:11 PM
The truth doesn’t need a law to defend it. The truth is the truth notwithstanding what any law might say.
There is the memo exposed by the NYT. Proof positive.
There are defamation laws which are broken every time a denialist of any stripe calls all climate scientists, and especially any specific one, a liar, a fraud, etc. When they state the entire field is a fraud, they’ve defamed every scientist involved.
This is simple. Hansen is probably the most defamed. He should make an example.
There is also the issue of crimes against humanity. I fail to see how an organized effort to lie about the science wouldn’t apply.
Yes, sorting out who really believes what they spout and who doesn’t is a challenge, but a little logic will likely suffice. Still, whether they believe it or not, defamation would still apply.
Re: #11 The “no warming since 1998″ meme is one that gets a lot of press. Some of the conventional wisdom support for this maybe the recent spate of cool summers in the midwestern US, especially this past one. Something my family comments on a lot when they discuss my chosen career as in “where’s your freaking global warming, we could really use it today” (aparently I’ve thrown my hat in with the wrong crowd). Here is the NOAA article discussing this:
Discussing how the artic dipole weather pattern maybe displacing the artic occillation due to decreased artic sea ice. I’m guessing that one result of this pattern would be a hot north central Asia and cool Hudson Bay and upper US midwest during the summer.
Last night, I saw a wealthy-looking couple stroll up to a gourmet French restaurant, called “La Goddarde,” that’s been critically acclaimed around the world. Michelin gave it 5 stars, and the menu offered delicious choices such as Crème du Nobel, Salmon pour le bénéfice de l’humanité, all certified to be nutritious and good for your health as well as delicious. The couple paused, cast a brief glance at the menu, and she says to him: “Darling, I just know for sure the chef is trying to poison us; let’s go around the back alley and gnaw on some recycled spoiled meat in the gutter.”
If we had several decades within which to “change the prevailing culture” as you suggest, your point might be more valid. But we don’t have that much time.
Yes, climate change misinformation legislation would create a huge backlash, and THAT IS ONE OF THE MAIN PURPOSES OF PROPOSING THE LEGISLATION. Climate change needs to be FORCEFULLY thrust into the public spotlight so that the public cannot but be exposed to the scientific consensus on the matter, and cannot but be educated regarding the science, as opposed to the lies and misconceptions, about global warming. Climate change is now nowhere near the top of the list of topics at the forefront of media coverage. A strong push to enact climate change misinformation legislation would change all that in a fortnight.
Where we are now is that the vast majority of the public has concluded that global warming must not be a big deal because if it were governments would prohibit misinformation about it like they now prohibit misinformation about dangerous substances and defective products. Can you blame the public for its skepticism and apathy when our scientists and the IPCC refrain from calling for laws prohibiting the kind of climate change misinformation that, by delaying action, is threatening to destroy civilisation as we know it. Can you imagine a group of medical researchers discovering a very harmful substance and refraining from calling on governments to stop individuals and corporations from telling everyone that the substance is completely safe? It would be the height of professional negligence and irresponsibility.
Our world’s top scientists need to demand that our world’s governments protect their citizens from climate change misinformation. If they do not take up that call what reason do uneducated citizens have for believing global warming is a very serious threat? None. The basic principle here, and it applies to many other dangers, is that if a government allows something, or allows corporations to publicly claim that something is harmless, most people will quite understandably believe that it must be harmless.
If the world’s scientists do not demand that the world’s governments prohibit lies and misinformation about global warming, THERE SEEMS NO OTHER WAY that the pubic will understand the gravity of the threat we face before it is much too late to save the future for our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren… If you think otherwise, please let me know what other options remain to be tried.
It’s high time that our world’s climate scientists demanded that our governments enacts legislation banning misinformation on climate change. Their failure to do so will ensure that too many of the world’s people will quite understandably conclude that global warming must not be that much of a big deal.
To George Ortega #40 (and others)
I follow science and Democracy , I might even be liberal in my politics.
With all due respect and I truly mean that but …
> “As I said before, we should leave climate change exclusively to the peer-review process, and make illegal fall other attempts to weigh in on the debate, because they are so dangerous.”<
with that remark, I believe you are losing the plot.
You would make certain people super-citzens, other thoughts are dangerous.
I think some reflection is in order here. No one is stifling your ability to post, I may not be so lucky.
#1 Philip Machanick:
“I have yet to encounter a situation where wishful thinking overturns a theory, especially when that wishful thinking runs counter to well-established physics (as is the theory of greenhouse gas warming)”
Oh really? Well established physics? Would you think that clouds have an important role in warming? Scientists currently have next to NO IDEA how clouds influence the climate. So please cut your ****. Or maybe if YOU know all the stuff about clouds, you can share with your climate warming friends, who openly (and correctly) admit that our knowledge about this part of the climate is almost zero.
Or maybe I’m wrong? But that’s what reputable people have been stating even in their drama filled talks I attended.
You are advocating more, rather than less, speech. While that sounds good in theory, in practice it can amount to very dangerous anarchy. For example, you may be aware that the leader of Mexico’s top drug cartel is worth over a billion dollars. Suppose he were allowed by law to buy television ads in countries all over the world telling young people that the drugs that are illegal in those countries are actually safe, and pose little or no risk. He could also buy as many scientists to back up his claims as corporations have bought to confuse the public regarding the threat of climate change. Imagine the harm that would cause. Perhaps now you can understand how much harm over how many decades if not centuries misinformation on global warming is bound to cause Not all information is good. Lies are not good. Promoting very risky behavior that could lead to the needless deaths of many, many people is not good. Confusing the public about a climate change that can easily end civilization as we know it is not good.
Scientists have already dismantled the arguments of global warming deniers, but it has done little good because the corporate media empires are not at all interested in either giving the climate crisis the attention it deserves, or in publicising scientific myth-busting about global warming.
No. The time has come to move from a voluntary honor system way of dealing with global warming to the kind of strong legal action it requires and deserves.
I have to agree with Gavin. Especially with IDL which is interpreted while you are developing, code is going to look like a notebook with things scratched out. People keep that stuff in the code sometimes in case they want to go back to where they were or to keep a record of what was tried. You can’t steal someone’s IDL scripts and expect to follow it easily. It is not intended to be clean. And, most likely there are many discarded scripts as well. If you want to know what a researcher thinks, read the paper not the code.
Gavin, you can settle your credibility issues rather quickly if you were to submit to a polygraph test through a reputable source and answer several questions:
1. Have you ever knowingly falsified data or conclusions based on data about climate change for any purpose?
2. Are you personally aware of any fraud perpetrated by staff members of the CRU?
3. Are you hiding information from the public which contradicts your held political and scientifice positions on climate change?
It’s simple Gavin. If you’re telling the truth then why not solicit questions from your readers and cement your credibility. You are a leading authority on policy issues affecting the financial well being of billions of people. I’d say your credibility is very much in question and could be significantly bolstered by a polygraph.
Anyone else with me on this?
[Response: The answer to all three questions is a resounding no. However, your view of my authority is highly inflated, as is your opinion on how much a polygraph test would do boost it. I would never encourage people to act based on my say-so alone. They should read the NAS reports, or the Royal Society reports or the assessment panel reports. They are far more likely to be complete and un-biased. - gavin]
, let us pray against the odds that 15 is a Poe, though 40 suggests it instead portends a heartfelt biartisan campaign to repeal the Bill of Rights- like environmental advocacy groups, energy corporations don’t have totalitarian ideas to propagate – people do.
Substituting ‘Secondhand Smoke” for Climate Change ” in George Ortega’s clarion call for First Amendment repeal would at least make it possible to dismiss it on the grounds of bad taste , if not history-
for the moment, Rc remains as much at liberty to add a sidebar link to Eric Hoffman’s cautionary essay on the authoritarian mind as to run paid adverts for The Index Journali Prohiborum , or vellum bound copies of the King James Version of AR4 adorned with Hansens autograph. If that sounds unattractive, there’s always Ortega’s opposite number at The Discovery Institute;
Re: George Ortega, Hey Great Idea George! My wife is a law student in SE Qld Australia and has a law degree from the Philippines, I’ll get her to read your article as to how this might be implemented in the Australian Judicial system. As you alluded to; I don’t think it’ll be easy but luckily our present Rudd Government seems to understand the severity and importance of CC mitigation, but the federal senate is divided?.
Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 30 Nov 2009 @ 1:49 AM
In order for science to occur, replication of experimentation must occur. A scientist can easily claim that he made Cold Fusion, or that Manhattan will be swamped under 100 feet of water by 2100, as long as he isn’t worried about replicating his results. Do you see why it is anti-scientific to make statements like these?
[Response: First off, no scientist has said that sea levels will rise 20ft by 2100 (really, look it up). Second, making projections based on current knowledge and possible scenarios is perfectly valid. If those scenarios occur, that would be a valid data point with which to evaluate the state of current knowledge. Trends in temperatures projected back in the mid eighties worked out pretty well for instance. - gavin]
[Response: Those emails were part of the discussion about the edits to this paper (which is actually a pretty good review of the state-of-the-art). I am not involved in any FOI actions involving CRU or IPCC and it is not my place to comment on what their response should be other than to state that of course they should follow the rules and take advice from the various Information Officers etc. - gavin]
How can you still, after all this time, be representing ideas out of context, or why and on what supportable basis? What I find most disappointing is the lack of evolution in those that seem to just keep missing the relevant points and contexts.
Since you seem to have missed what is reasonably obvious to those that have looked, the subject context is lack of GCR correlation with temp increase and insufficient forcing attributed to said GCR hypothesis to account for the observed temp increase; while other attributions, that of increases in industrial GHG’s do account for it, as well as correlate, as well as model match, and along with associated factors reasonably account for the the changes.
There have been enough discussions of this subject on RC and you have been here long enough to know better… but you still don’t, I’m wondering why?
Context is still key, and looking at things out of context still leaves you blind.
“Now let’s go to the “validity of extremely complex models.” But of course the models are complex! The evidence itself is not just massive, but multi-dimensional. You find these models aren’t “transparent”? Have you done any programming? Even the best coders writing their clearest code can’t follow it themselves without immersing themselves in it for days at a time. It’s true whether you’re modeling climate, or modeling aerodynamics of an aircraft. You trust the airplanes you ride to stay up, right? Even though their airworthiness depends on “extremely complex models” that surely aren’t “transparent” to you?”
Except: modeling aerodynamics is done to use the **understood** physics to create better planes. Then the plane is fully tested before letting people in them.
Climate models are being used to make predictions when the physics is not fully understood – hence the poor quality of the predictions.
If the physics was fully understood you would only really need one basic computer model – and it would work.
Thank you for replying to my previous question about the code (and the other before it). For me (and most programmers I’ve talked to) I think this is the heart of the doubt. I understand this isn’t your code (it seems to be Briffa’s?) so you may not be totally familiar with it. You mentioned that the valadj array is in the end never used, but in the code of FOI2009 it is not commented out, and used in the later plot. The file is briffa_sep98_e.pro. The steps as far as what is in the code go:
1) line 7: create the valadj array (I assume that stands for ‘values adjustment’)
;****** APPLIES A VERY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION FOR DECLINE*********
2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
2) line 57: interpolate that with yearlyadj (guessing that means yearly adjustment)
; Now plot it too
cpl_barts,x,densadj,title=’Hugershoff-standardised MXD from all sites’,$
As you can see it certainly isn’t commented out, and it is used in the plot.
[Response: Fair enough. The same code is in briffa_sep98_d.pro but there it is commented out. - gavin]
I understand that there maybe be valid reasons for all of it, or the plot may be printed but not used, but as it is written it seems to be at least ‘evidence’ of data manipulation by whoever wrote it. Maybe it needs the original writer to clarify usage and intent, or are you familiar enough with it?
[Response: Not at all. The 'correction' was calculated as the PC in an EOF decomposition of the divergence in the associated files (so it isn't arbitrary). I understand that this was done in order to test the sensitivity of certain calculations to the presence or absence of the post 1960 'divergence', but regardless of why it was done, it does not appear in any paper, nor does it impact any published data set. In no way can this be described as evidence for data manipulation in the sense you mean. This, like the junk that litters any researcher's hard drive, is just one of those calculations that didn't go anywhere or add anything particularly useful. That's the thing with stolen files - they don't come with context. - gavin]
Once again thanks for the massive effort to help everyone understand here — looking up at the posts you seem to be up most hours of the day on this. I sincerely wish you well.
Perhaps a far better legislative plan would be to pass draconian laws against the corporate publishing of any more of this junk science known as humanly caused global warming. You needn’t worry about real truth of these disputed matters coming into the full light of day once all views are fairly aired and publically debated. It makes me nervous when one debater tries to have his opponent forcibly shut up. In the United States, that sort of nonsense will not be tolerated.
Are you sure you’re not working for the Heartland Institute or Exxon Mobile? I can’t think of a more sure-fire way to turn the public against accepting AGW theory than to implement some idiotic restriction on the free speech of its opponents. Besides being morally wrong, your idea is extremely counterproductive.
The Urban Heat Island Effect really exists, is trivial, and is already accounted for in temperature time series estimates:
Hansen, J., Ruedy, R., Sato, M., Imhoff, M., Lawrence, W., Easterling, D., Peterson, T., and Karl, T. 2001. “A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change.” J. Geophys. Res. 106, 23947–23963.
Parker, DE. 2004. “Large-scale warming is not urban.” Nature 432, 290.
Parker, DE. 2006. “A Demonstration That Large-Scale Warming Is Not Urban.” Journal of Climate 19, 2882-2895.
Peterson, Thomas C. 2003. “Assessment of Urban Versus Rural In Situ Surface Temperatures in the Contiguous United States: No Difference Found.” J. Clim. 16(18), 2941-2959.
Peterson T., Gallo K., Lawrimore J., Owen T., Huang A., McKittrick D. 1999. “Global rural temperature trends.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 26(3), 329.
Thanks for the clarification Gavin. Indeed you are right it is commented out in briffa_sep98_d.pro and not the ‘e’ version, I should have figured out there were two similar files from the context of your reply. If that code is never used in a graph that sees the light of day, then it would seem almost ‘post worthy’ to me. Maybe I’m just too code centric, but having that confirmed seems like it would be a really big step (obviously just seeing it as it is with the wording it has makes it jump out a bit : ).
the AGW debate is far from over, rather it’s about to get far more interesting.
BPL: The AGW debate was settled in the ’40s when high-altitude observations from airplanes shot down the saturation argument against AGW. Sorry, but the only “debate” on it now is between science on one side and crackpots and political shills on the other.
Scientists currently have next to NO IDEA how clouds influence the climate.
I believe the latest consensus is that clouds, on global average, warm the climate system by 30 watts per square meter through the greenhouse effect and cool it by 50, for a net cooling of 20 watts per square meter. Low clouds cool the most, high clouds warm the most, so that more low-altitude cumulus will tend to cool the Earth while more high-altitude cirrus will tend to warm it.
In my RCMs, I use the Hadley CRU figures of 130 square meters per kilogram for the IR absorption coefficient of water clouds and 65 for ice clouds. Modeling scattering is considerably trickier, of course, but the parameterizations of Chou and his many co-workers is a great help.
Estimates of mean global annual cloud cover range from 47% to 76%, but the wide range is due mostly to how you define the boundary of a cloud. High-cover schemes require clouds to have a lower mean albedo, and low-cover clouds a higher mean albedo, since the Earth’s overall bolometric Bond albedo is well constrained by satellite observations.
modeling aerodynamics is done to use the **understood** physics to create better planes. Then the plane is fully tested before letting people in them.
Climate models are being used to make predictions when the physics is not fully understood – hence the poor quality of the predictions.
1. What is not fully understood about the equation of radiative transfer?
2. The quality of the predictions is poor? Look again:
The last 5 years have seen a lot of progress on climate science, its acceptance across the world and the changes needed in society to mitigate the problem.
About 2 years or so ago, when it looked like the ‘battle’ was being won and at least here in the UK, environmentalists seem to be winning the battle. I was pretty sure things would get nasty at some point. It isn’t so much that the big corporates wanted to protect their interests, I think the issue goes beyond that.
In the past, great scientific achievements resulted in either a benefit to humanity (medicine, food, engineering etc.) or it only really existed in the minds of the average person, resulting in Pub talk (relativity, Schroedinger’s cat etc.).
Climate science is a different issue for most people and that’s the problem. This is IMO going to be an never ending battle, or at least a very long one. It may very well end when society has converted over to technology and a way of living that is sustainable and the science doesn’t actually impact on the average person any more. I mean if you are happy, and that happiness is environmentally sustainable, then there is no need to question the science, it will no longer be news and people will wonder what the fuss was for.
Just a thought. In the mean time, the battle goes on…
If the truth did not need to be defended by laws, as you say, we would have no need for legal systems and the vast amounts of time and money we spend ferreting the truth from lies and misconceptions. Over the last year, the percentage of Americans who believe that global warming is happening has dropped from 80 to 72 percent. Clearly the lies and misinformation are winning the court of public opinion, and we cannot allow ignorance and/or selfish greed to destroy civilization as we know it.
We need to come to terms with the reality that THERE ARE NO OTHER WAYS available to stem the tide of confusion about global warming. If there were, we would be using them and they would be working. We clearly need to make illegal the corporate publishing of misinformation about climate change. Misinformation laws now protect us from many, many forms of danger like medical quacks and their useless treatments, and we need misinformation laws to protect us from the far more harmful climate quacks with their quack science.
The problem with suing for defamation is that, like libel, the defamation must be intentional and malicious. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of climate change misinformation out there that does not neatly fall into either of those categories.
My guess is that if there were already laws on the books that could effectively stop the misinformation on climate change, they would have already been successfully applied. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency would have the authority to create such laws. We now have laws that stipulate what our teachers can and cannot teach our children in school. For example, it is illegal in a science classroom to teach children the theory of creationism as science. Global warming is a far greater threat to humanity than the misapprehension regarding our human origins could ever be, and we have laws prohibiting creationist misinformation. If we have laws protecting us from lesser dangers, it makes perfect sense that we should have laws protecting us from greater dangers. It’s time we create climate change misinformation laws, and strongly prosecute offending corporations and associations to a degree commensurate with the level of real harm and devastating future consequences their misinformation has caused and will cause.
What’s jut come to m attention again..I had heard about it years ago but I put it on my awareness back burner; is the burning of peat swamps in Indonesia and europe. If you get more years of drought causing 2.6Gt of CO2 being releaed in a single year alone such as Indonesia in ’97/’98..you’re gonna get problems. Latest satellite measurements show a startling amount of peat quietly smouldering away for months after month and contributing yearly 14-40% of all the CO2 attributable to fossil fuel burning.
Question..why does the IPCC not incorporate this into their computer modelling? I’ve known about this for years! You always hear about fossil fuel combustion/ forest clearing and burning etc but barely a mention about the large global effects of uncontrolled peat march combustion. Could this be a major ‘x’ factor the IPCC needs to get their c modelling on track? Tackling every conceivable CO2 source is vital if we are to going to eventually bring a degree of decelleratoin to the world’s CO2 graph.
If China wont play ball in CC mitigation since they are utterly obsessed with economic growth at ‘ANY COST’ we can at least also tackle peat bog combustion and that way reduce globally as much carbon as china belches into the atmosphere each and every year.
for more info.
Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 30 Nov 2009 @ 9:21 AM
If we applied your reasoning to the advertising industry, corporations could lie to us at will regarding their products, and we would be powerless to stop them. But we DO have laws against false advertising, whether those false claims are intentional or inadvertent.
We also have laws that prohibit anyone but doctors from practicing medicine. Yes, doctors are the “super-citizens” you refer to whom we trust to provide us with medical care, and yes, those who would attempt to practice medicine on us without a licence are dangerous.
As you note, we are both lucky to have the right to post here. However, if either of us were to begin spouting racial epithets or sexually harassing the other, THERE ARE LAWS now on the books that would hold us responsible and punish us. Words are not “sticks and stones,” yet we have many, many laws on the books protecting us from the EMOTIONAL harm caused by racist and sexist verbal attacks. Do you mean to tell me that it is completely fine to protect ourselves from hurtful language that might make us feel bad, but when it comes to protecting our children and grandchildren from a civilization destroyed by misinformation about global warming we cannot create and invoke the laws to do so? No. That makes no sense at all.
Free speech laws do not allow us to use speech to hurt or threaten each other, and global warming misinformation is hurting and threatening us to a degree unprecedented in human history. WE WILL create and invoke climate change misinformation laws because it is the only means we have to stop the mass confusion about global warming and finally start sufficiently addressing it.
What is a “Poe”? To characterize climate change misinformation legislation as a “repeal of the Bill of Rights” is truly an exaggeration, and ignores the many, many laws now on the books that curb speech and actions, and that are completely in accordance with the Bill of Rights.
There are some among us who would frame the hurting of others through speech as a “free speech” right protected by our Constitution. However hurting others through speech such as slander, libel, false advertising, impersonation, and many other manners of hurtful or deceitful speech in no way falls under the classification “free speech,” and is therefore prohibited by law.
By asserting that a call for climate change misinformation legislation is a call for the repeal of the First Amendment, you are using a straw man argument. It miss-states the nature and purpose of the proposal, and lacks reason and credibility. It also ignores the many, many laws against hurtful speech that have been part of the American and other legal systems for over two hundred years.
You are advocating that we human beings be allowed to say and do anything we wish, regarding of how those words and actions harm others. Basically, you are advocating anarchy. We are very fortunate to have a legal system that strongly disagrees with you, but our legal system has not until now had to confront a misinformation challenge like that related to climate change. I am confident that our legal system will see that climate change misinformation IS NOT FREE SPEECH, and will create whatever laws are necessary to make it illegal. Why? Because we have no other choice if we are to protect and defend civilisation as we know it.
Thanks for the support! We apparently could use a law student like your wife, or a lawyer, to explain the distinction between hurtful speech and free speech, and to innumerate the many, many kinds of laws that are now on the books to enforce that distinction. Many of us need to understand that if it is right to create speech laws to prevent such minimal damage as hurt feelings, it is imperative that we create climate change misinformation laws to prevent the kind of centuries-long devastation that global warming threatens.
The climate change misinformation legislation I am calling for would allow both global warming believers and global warming skeptics and deniers the same right to publish and promote their viewpoints and findings; the peer-review process. I am not trying to curb free speech, I am trying to curb hurtful speech. When scientists finally admit that there is no other way to stop the avalanche of climate change misinformation that is preventing us from addressing global warming, they will demand that governments create and enact the kind of legislation that will stop that misinformation. In the end, it is not the protection of people and future generations from the dangers of global warming misinformation that will not be tolerated. It is the willful or misguided insistence by some that their right to say and do whatever they want regardless of its harm to civilisation that will not be tolerated. And let’s pray that the day of that misinformation legislation is near.
[Response: No thanks. I like my democracy the way it is, thanks! Your proposal is Inhofian.--eric]
You say that climate change misinformation legislation will turn the public away from understanding the global warming risk we face. I say this legislation will do the exact opposite. When Fox News and other media empires are forced by law to report only climate change findings that have made it through the peer-review process, or that have been approved by a central authority like the EPA in the United States or the IPPC internationally, then, and only then, will the public have the facts and information necessary to properly understand climate change and the risk it poses to civilization as we know it. Without such legislation, the climate change debate will rage on for decades, far beyond the time when we will have been able to stop the irreversible global warming that is threatening to destroy the proper lives of future generations. We cannot, and will not, let that devastation happen.
If the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act were designed to prohibit climate change misinformation, there would be no need for climate change misinformation legislation. Ask yourself; what other options do we have to stop the public confusion about global warming than to create and enforce laws to prevent corporations and organizations from willfully or irresponsibly confusing the public on global warming? We have absolutely no choice about this. We either create and enact strong climate change misinformation legislation or our children, grandchildren, and all those beyond will pay a dear and increasingly heavy price for our confusing free speech with hurtful speech, and for allowing climate change misinformation to confuse the global public. I’ll give up the fight when climate scientists wake up to the reality that their profession, and our world, needs to be protected from climate quackery, and when these scientist demand that our governments speedily create those protections.
Not every problem has a litigious or legislative solution. We cannot legislate people to be smarter, and yet, that is what is required. People must learn to tell the difference between the truth and sweet-sounding lies. Your bill will not help with that, because there will always be sweet-sounding lies, no matter how strongly you legislate against them. Read through the “Hack” posts. Do you really think that the denialists would be any less deluded if Exx-Mob were not funding a massive disinformation campaign?
An informed electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy. Merely outlawing disinformation does not inform.
Just a quick and secondary observation. I find it hard to comprehend why Professor Laut, like so many other AGW proponents, keep fussing about the “massive skepticism expressed by the media, film makers and other commentators” when in fact the opposite is true: the preponderance of the media of all kinds strongly support AGW (whether they understand it or not). It’s unfortunate (for AGW support) because this silly and false expression detracts considerably (maybe unfairly) from the credibility — if one is fast and loose with this self-evident small stuff, why should I believe the rest?
Barton Paul Levenson says:
30 November 2009 at 5:45 AM
“I believe the latest consensus is that clouds, on global average, warm the climate system by 30 watts per square meter through the greenhouse effect and cool it by 50, for a net cooling of 20 watts per square meter. Low clouds cool the most, high clouds warm the most, so that more low-altitude cumulus will tend to cool the Earth while more high-altitude cirrus will tend to warm it.”
Those figures are by no means empirically derived. They are essentially guestimates based I believe one paper. There is no real consensus here.
You cannot even begin to understand how clouds affect the climate system until you have an understanding of cloud dynamics at all levels in the atmosphere.
[Response: Not true. They were the numbers that were derived from the ERBE experiment in the 1980s, and have been confirmed very closely by the CERES measurements. Much better than 'guesstimates'! - gavin]
Comment by Richard Steckis — 30 Nov 2009 @ 10:14 AM
By asserting that you like a democracy that condones climate change misinformation, you are saying that you like a democracy that allows us to hurt each other with lies and self-serving confusion. I’m afraid, however, that you are on the wrong side of history on this. If there were other ways to stop the public confusion on climate change, climate change misinformation legislation would not be necessary. But, as you probably already realize, there are no other ways.
Continuing to spar with the global warming deniers and skeptics amounts to repeating a behavior that has been shown to be a failure. I’m sorry you don’t appreciate the laws that our democratic legal system creates to protect us from the hurtful speech of others. But I am sure that as scientists begin to understand that science has lost the public debate on climate change, they will understand the need for climate change misinformation legislation.
Rather than my proposal being “Inhofian” as you assert, it actually represents the only avenue available to us for stopping Inhofe’s and all other non-scientific and nonsensical assaults on climate science. If you disagree,
I would be very interested to know how soon, and by what means, you expect the climate change debate to be concluded with climate scientists declared the winners.
I am an avid scuba diver and have dove in the Blue Hole in Belize http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Blue_Hole In this website you will see that it is 410 feet deep and was formed as an ABOVE WATER limestone cave during the last Ice Age when the levels of the oceans were at least 410 feet lower than today. Then as all those glaciers melted (without any human effect) the water ROSE. In short, oceans go up and down…the Earth’s climate is a gigantic engine that NATURALLY gets colder and hotter…always has and always will. The Earth has survived much, much COLDER and much, much HOTTER periods than we are in now….always has, always will.
[Response: Yes, yes... but how many millions of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons were displaced when that happened? How many cities were deluged? How many agricultural societies floundered? ... None. - gavin]
This comment is intended for the Copenhagen thread which is now closed. I apologize for placing it here but I thought it might be helpful for those that are trying to adress skeptics concerning the CRU issue:
#76 andy says:
Unfortunately you guys (and the IPCC) have lost much credibility, based on the leaked emails and your own comments in response. As implied by your own admission, you only transmit signals that suit your agenda, and define any other signals as noise to be filtered out. Citing RealClimate as an authority is no longer effective in our arguments against the skeptics. They just come back with your loss of credibility.
Scientists from many fields such as climatology, meteorology, biology, geology, oceanography, chemistry, climate modeling, environmental politics, astrophysics, and other fields have published articles that show climate change has impacted all aspects of planet Earth. I am quite sure that MANY of these folks have NEVER spoken to or emailed the folks at CRU. So how can they be “in on the conspiracy?”
A good selection of essays from these scientists and some great photography can be found in: Climate Change: Picturing the Science by Gavin Schmidt and Joshua Wolfe.
George Ortega (15) says, “A Climate Change Misinformation Act would undoubtedly evoke massive attacks…” You think?!?! No matter how sweet and intellectually it is spun by comparing it to other free speech limitations, George’s idea is 100% fascist: win the AGW debate by throwing all skeptics in prison. To make it certain why not make it a capital offense to disagree with the some of the litany?
This is not just not science; it is egregiously non-science. When you come George, bring many well-armed Brown Shirts.
Hate to sound vitriolic. But abominable stupidity demands an explicit strong response.
George Ortega (29) says, “…I’m sorry, Ray, but our democracy and free speech laws allow for the kind of legislation I am proposing….”
They do not.
The speech limits you cite are very strictly limited, are based on irrefutable claims (for the most part, but not all), and most importantly do not relate to political ideas. (Still, some, IMO, could face legal challenge, though probably won’t because it less costly to bend over and take it.) I think the government would be hard pressed to take NORMAL (sic) to court and win if NORML began an advertising campaign in support of marijuana use (which, as a right-winger, I would be in favor of.)
Your arguments have a ring of intellectual analysis and rationalization. So have many other despotic actions.
They have just published an interview with Michael Mann. Mann is allowed to put his case exactly as he would wish. Seeing that this was (I assume) recorded after the CRU leaks, he was asked nothing about the CRU leaks, which could have made a “better” story.
At this moment, the BBC is under enormous pressure from the denialist camp. It is a publicly funded service, and many, particularly on the right, are saying “we are spending the money to pay the BBC – so where is our (the denialist) side of the “balanced” reporting?”
“BPL: The AGW debate was settled in the ’40s when high-altitude observations from airplanes shot down the saturation argument against AGW. Sorry, but the only “debate” on it now is between science on one side and crackpots and political shills on the other”
So, if everything was settled 70 years ago with what sounds like 100% certainty – why not cancel all climate research.
and if CO2 makes the Globe Warmer why did it cool down from WWII until the 1970s
In the US, the First Amendment makes clear that laws prohibiting speech based on the content are not allowed. This has been decided numerous times, all the way back to the NYT v. Sullivan case.
You just can’t judge speech based on the content.
Libel laws only address actual harm caused by speech. And they vary from state to state. (in the US). For example, California (probably because of the high concentration of celebrities) is a “truth is no defense” state. That is, a true statement (one that is a demonstrable fact) is no defense against libel.
Laws that bar false advertising and the like only apply to demonstrable facts, stuff that is sort of beyond rational dispute. You cannot sell a magic stick of wood labeled “this will enable you to fly 100 feet into the air.” But you can sell one that says “This will enable you to fly” and provide instructions for jumping with some bull—- disclaimer.
As it is, news outlets have to have lawyers comb the copy for libelous statements — I worked at one with a guy on retainer who did just that. And in the news business, it is generally held that if you call someone about a comment made about them it is no longer libel (as long as you make a good faith effort).
Climate can’t be libeled (it isn’t a person) nor can dead people. So expanding libel laws — a dubious prospect — would not work here.
Libel only deals with demonstrable harm to individuals. And in the US it is rather hard to prove.
George, you seem to have a very top-down view of how social change happens. Do you think prohibiting expressions of racial hatred would have made things easier here in the US, when non-whites started demanding their rights? The Yugoslavians tried it and look where that led — the hatred simply simmered under the surface until it burst forth like a boil.
George, the problem isn’t speech. The problem is power. Your idea doesn’t begin to address that kind of issue.
More to the point — you can’t prove, in a mathematical sense, that AGW is real. But you can’t prove that smoking causes cancer either, not absolutely. However, I doubt that anyone here would smoke, despite the myriad factors that contribute to cancer.
Similarly, the preponderance of evidence is in favor of a human induced change in climate.
Even leaving aside the climate change, there are other issues we need to deal with (and doing so would help on the climate front). Pretending that humans have no large-scale effect on the environment is simply silly. The Aral Sea is half it’s former size — you can see the difference from space. That was pretty unambiguously human-induced. The dust bowl resulted from trying to use European farming practices in a semi-arid zone. It covered an area bigger than Texas and sent dust to Washington DC. There are a thousand other examples.
We got lucky in the past. We might not be so lucky this time.
Before the “emails” were released Micheal Mann had a paper in press. It appeared in the recent issue of Science.
Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly
Michael E. Mann et al. Science 27 November 2009:
Vol. 326. no. 5957, pp. 1256 – 1260
Mann is one of the folks being lambasted for a lack of transparency. This paper is a case study in transparency and data availablilty.
From the text of the paper:
“Further details of reconstruction procedure, associated statistical validation and skill assessments, uncertainty estimation procedures, data used, and MATLAB source codes for the analysis procedures are provided in the Materials and Methods.”
When you go to the online supplement, you will find this:
“Computer codes and data. Computer codes (MATLAB), data, and supporting information for analysis in main paper. File are packaged as a compressed archive, in *.zip format; users should download the compressed file to their machine and decompress the file on their local hard drive, using the instructions below.
multiproxySpatial09.zip (22 MB) [This is a link in the online version”
And should we forget were we could be spending our time and energy, it’s a very interesting paper and well worth a read.
Not ‘Inhofian’, nor even Limbaughesque, Tarantine or Moranoid
Just plain Orwellian.
And a chilling reminder of how snowballs throw at lobbyists or Danish statisticians by PR careerists or the bien pensant can avalanche into inquisitional crusades– the fallout extends from Ortega to some who take exception to the FOIA.
It’s gotten bad enough to put the Manchester Guardian on the same Op Ed Page as the European Wall Street Journal :
One area where I disagree with the scientists here: You should not be calling the global warming deniers “scientists”. They are really little but shills for the major polluters (oil companies, etc.) – PR people – who happen to have a scientific background. Sylvester Stallone is as much a warrior fighting international criminals as they are scientists.
Any comments on M. Ram, M.R. Stolz, and B.A. Tinsley, “The Terrestrial Cosmic Ray Flux: Its Importance for Climate”, EOS Vol. 90, No. 44, 3 Nov 2009? I don’t have the background to properly assess the article.
Comment by Wallace Woolfenden — 30 Nov 2009 @ 3:37 PM
David H (93), I’ll weigh in on the suggestion Galvin take a lie detector test. You’re pushing the debate from the ridiculous to the sublime and giving us skeptics a bad name, and we shouldn’t aid that process…
I have to disagree with Ortega. First off, I think the passage or attempted passage of such a climate change misinformation law would only be taken as evidence that global warming lacks the data to stand on it’s own and can only be supported by suppressing opponents. I think it would hurt the cause considerably, especially since actual suppression of AGW information would be completely impossible as a practical matter.
But even if you could somehow suppress all non-consensus speech on the topic outside of scientific contexts, and even if this helped increase the support for dealing with global warming, I wouldn’t support it. Some prices are too high to pay…Live free or fry!
George Ortega, your proposed Climate Change Misinformation Act proposal is not draconian enough to be coherent. You would clearly e. g. allow Svensmark to hold forth, as an individual, about how his solar link makes CO2 insignificant, and you would let scientific publishers publish his articles if they pass peer review. So would you ban news corporations from giving him a “podium” by reporting legally published science and the legally expressed views of a citizen? You don’t have to be a free speech absolutist to see that doesn’t make sense.
Mark Twain once said, “If you tell the truth, you’ll eventually be found out.”
I believe this. Nature ain’t gonna change the answers she’s giving us, so unless we all become like the denialists and stop asking, nature will eventually speak loudly enough that even we will have to listen.
Yes, we face a well orchestrated and well funded campaign of disinformation–as evidenced that the denialists have spewed calumny in lieu of evidence these past 2 weeks. The only weapon we have is the truth. It cannot be weilded against us unless we relinquish it.
I’d be interested in analysis of the Svensmark rebuttal to Laut that Guy posted a link to.
Of related interest:
Paul E. Damon and Peter Laut, “Pattern of Strange Errors Plagues Solar Activity and Terrestrial Climate Data,” Eos 85, no. 39 (September 28, 2004): 370, 374, doi:10.1029/2004EO390005.
TheGoodLocust asks, “Since science is supposed to be falsifiable then what conditions would be necessary to falsify anthropogenic global warming?”
Anthropogenic climate change is not a “theory” per se, but rather a prediction based on the consensus theory of Earth’s climate. As such, what would really be needed would be a theory of climate that accounted for the evidence as well or better than the current theory and which did not predict significant warming as a result of increased CO2. Were such a theory available, it would likely be embraced by most scientists. It does not, nor is it likely to, given the importance of CO2 in the current theory and the unique signature it has in paleoclimate studies as a well mixed, long-lived greenhouse gas.
Aren’t all these comments a bit odd? Endless posts about the hack (again) and first ammendment discussions – all fascinating stuff, but hardly on-topic. Meanwhile Svensmark has made a public statement responding to Laut’s criticisms (which I thought was the purpose of this thread after all) which at least 2 of us have linked, but it doesn’t warrant a comment?
Phil C., One need not include everything–only everything significant. On timescales longer than about 30 years, the Sun, albedo changes and greenhouse gasses account for most of the variation. On shorter timescales, volcanic eruptions, ENSO, etc. assume much more significance. One thing for sure, without a significant contribution from CO2, 1)you don’t get an Earthlike climate; 2)Earth is a snowball.
“Response: Not true. They were the numbers that were derived from the ERBE experiment in the 1980s, and have been confirmed very closely by the CERES measurements. Much better than ‘guesstimates’! – gavin]”
I stand corrected on the derivation of the figures. But my comment on the complexity of cloud dynamics stands.
Comment by Richard Steckis — 30 Nov 2009 @ 6:42 PM
On the lighter side but informative side NASA just released a new music video that is quite appropriate to this discussion. sun song
“Response: Yes, yes… but how many millions of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons were displaced when that happened? How many cities were deluged? How many agricultural societies floundered? … None. – gavin”
how many human societies were displaced during the last glacial (bearing in mind that we are still in an ice age)? My parents are from Lithuania which was lying under 4km of ice during the last glacial as was Scotland and most of the rest of northern Europe. Believe it or not Gavin there were human societies (albeit hunter gatherer) that were displaced by the glacial.
Climate change whether natural or man-made has a habit of displacing some societies.
Comment by Richard Steckis — 30 Nov 2009 @ 6:49 PM
Gavin’s response in post 48 is both pitch perfect and as yet not on offer in a mainline post. I think that’s a mistake. Clearly, this whole CRU email hack episode is disturbing on a multitude of levels, and the desire not to dignify the accusations or worse- the integrity starved charlatans and abuse merchants championing them- with a direct point by point response has got to be strong. You all didn’t ask to be at ground zero of what has become such a politically and ideologically divisive issue, nor to find yourself up against the business end of moneyed interests’ dirty tricks, of course. But it’s where you are, and your choices should reflect that reality.
The bottom line is that people are looking to RC for the definitive explanation of all of that out of context innuendo being paraded across the web and public sphere, and the two posts on the subject to now give the matter short shrift, even as the inline comments are rich with terrific information and rebuttal. If you could do a post featuring something like 48, followed by a detailed point by point explanation of each oft cited blurb of text (and code, e.g. 98)- not just what the correct interpretation was, but ‘significance to work’ context- that would be the type of definitive response that would start to draw a line under this whole episode, insofar as such things ever happen…
Speaking of more context, a nice close for such a post would be a simple high-level explanation of why nothing that’s been discussed could possibly matter to the science of human influence on the climate under any interpretation, no matter how ungenerous- something akin e.g. Barton’s posts in 105 & 106- and that anyone who intimates otherwise is lying (blunt language as per Dr. Laut’s advice). My 2¢, for what it’s worth.
The sin is willfully promoting disinformation for profit or gain in a way that endangers others in the world. Our legal system cannot seem to stop this kind of language; that we fail to curtail this sort of speech is another.
This is not flat earth, or plate techtonics, or evolution deniers – this denialism directly harms the future for all. If I was in an airplane and heard speech saying that the air pressure inside is the same as out and why don’t we just open a window… such speech would be very worrysome. But perhaps not illegal.
This AGW denialism speech is designed to prevent any limitation to the use of carbon energy. “We don’t know for sure that nicotine causes global warming”
If we regard the limits to tobacco advertising speech as instructive, then all carbon fuel advertising should be banned immediately – and warnings should accompany all sales of carbon fuels.
How much more insanity are we willing to tolerate?
Science is a process of fact-based consensus, not legislative enforcement – and how would “misinformation act” apply to the DOE and energy research?
For example, what about coal carbon capture and sequestration vs. atmospheric carbon capture and sequestration? I often wonder if the authors of realclimate really understand the carbon cycle – if they did, I think they’d work more to emphasize the large difference between these two approaches.
Carbon, after all, is (like mercury) and element. It cannot be broken down here on Earth, and once you inject it from stable geological reservoirs into the atmosphere, it just keeps cycling around, as mercury does. The only removal process is the slow, slow one of burial in sedimentary accumulation zones – and that is largely negligible on any human timescale.
Take for example the ongoing effort to boost clean coal:
“The research by scientists at Columbia University means that millions of tons of CO2 could be prevented from entering the atmosphere and instead used to turn coal, biomass and municipal waste into cleaner fuel.”
This ignores the central difference between biomass and coal – biomass carbon was recently in the atmosphere, while coal carbon was previously in deep in the ground, where it would have stayed for millions of years.
Such deep scientific misunderstanding might seem strange in a professional news organization like CNN – but that’s what happens when you fire your entire science and technology news team for reporting accurately on climate and global warming.
What CNN is really doing is following along with the coal-to-gasoline program that is so heavily supported in the U.S., by the DOE, and even by Senator Barak Obama – although he now doesn’t talk about it. Southern Illinois is deeply invested in coal-to-gasoline schemes, and the FutureGen plant really appears to be a disguised coal-to-gasoline plant (FutureGen is a coal gasification demonstration project, supposedly aimed at demonstrating carbon capture and sequestration – but after the demonstration, it is to be sold off in parts to private industry, and those parts are identical to those in coal-to-gasoline plants.)
So, if you want to talk about fraud in science, you want to stop looking at CRU emails and start looking at clean coal schemes. As far as CNN, well this is just pure propaganda:
“This remarkable double hit is based on a well-established process called “gasification” that is already used to clean “dirty” fuels by heating them with steam and turning them into a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, known as syngas. In turn, that is then burned in power stations or used to create transport fuels.
But until now this process has demanded very large amounts of energy and water, and produced substantial CO2 emissions. However, the Columbia researchers have shown that by actually adding CO2 into the mix and replacing some of the steam, the reaction becomes dramatically more efficient and much cleaner.
How does it become cleaner? You are still dumping all that CO2 into the atmosphere, and the sulfur and arsenic and mercury doesn’t vanish – it gets spread round in the air and water and soil, and from there makes it into the food chain, and hence to your plate. Nothing has been cleaned – except the IMAGE. All we have here is an example of prototype-free hype based on some isolated lab result – yet CNN decides to cheer it? As noted…
What is really needed to solve the problem is a politically independent DOE restructured along the lines of the NIH or NSF. Otherwise, you’ll just continue to see more fraudulent DOE claims on coal and fossil fuels – they have huge departments dedicated to that PR line. What’s remarkable here is that so many scientists who do know better are willing to go along with the nonsense – because it means their grants are funded. Oh, they know it’s nonsense – but with the DOE dumping billions into it, anyone who wants to keep their scientific career intact knows better than to come right out and say it’s nonsense.
Some would say that this represents a complete failure of core academic and media institutions in the United States and Britain – and I would agree with them. I think the phrase that fits is “Lysenkoism” – total obedience to the corporate fossil fuel agenda will be rewarded with tenure, perks and personal advancement. Science? The role of science is to support the state, I mean the corporate, interest – not to cause problems for big coal-to-gasoline and tar sand plans.
Lawrence Coleman #114
There are estimates of how much CO2 was released during the 97/98 fires – check out Susan Page’s work (University of Leicester).
As to your question:
Question..why does the IPCC not incorporate this into their computer modelling? I’ve known about this for years! You always hear about fossil fuel combustion/ forest clearing and burning etc but barely a mention about the large global effects of uncontrolled peat march combustion. Could this be a major ‘x’ factor the IPCC needs to get their c modelling on track? Tackling every conceivable CO2 source is vital if we are to going to eventually bring a degree of decelleratoin to the world’s CO2 graph.
I assume Peatswamp emission are factored into emission estimates for forest clearing/burning. I’m not a climate modeller, but I’m not aware that any X factor is required to get the C modelling on track.
As to doing something about – we are.
The problem is that a) there isn’t a lot of money floating around in tropical countries for conservation/restoration work or research (I’m currently between paided post-docs and working as a volunteer in this area), b) we are competing with other more profitable land-uses which drives the deforestation/burning c) it takes time.
It is clear that George Ortega’s proposal has no support here. In the highly unlikely event that a majority of MP’s or Congress-people might implement it, then it would create a fashion for lawyers and judges to arbitrate over scientific issues.
I should like to try out another idea which is still half baked but might perhaps be improved. In other areas of science, Jan Hendrik Schön’s work on semiconductors and Hwang Woo-suk’s on embryonic stem cells were officially condemned as fraud and sanctions were imposed. These decisons were not described as an unjustified curtailment of free speech or bullying by a scientific elite. It was not seen as a matter of opinion but of intentional deception. So would it be possible to set up a scientific court to deal with cases of deliberate deception in climatology? The judges would have to be scientists and well informed in the subject. The main sanctions would consist of loss of reputation.
This suggestion might be criticised because it could lead to more politically motivated hockey-stick-type enquiries or alternatively to persecution of scientific rebels. These risks cannot be avoided altogether, but could perhaps be minimised. The existing reviewing/refereeing system is designed to filter out mistakes and bad science. In contrast, this court would concentrate on exposing and publicising cases of deliberate deception.
Nigel Lawson has been saying that the reputation of British science is in danger of being tarnished by the Email leaks. Anyone reading these threads will see no evidence for this. But the premise is partly right for a different reason. World science is in danger of having its reputation damaged because it has not got the institutions to defend itself aggressively enough. It is not sufficient for the existing institutions to issue warnings about human caused global warming. They also need to counter the misinformation campaign against science and the scientists.
The lack of support for George Ortega’s proposal in no way precludes the opportunity for an enraged public with a belatedly crystal clear retrospective to go after PR folks pursuing the current campaign of carefully crafted confusion, and especially those paymasters funding that PR effort, who cannot see past current quarterly results let alone look down the road at the future misery and chaos they are sowing.
The folks at the end of the “climate skepticism” dollar trail should =pray= that, despite all evidence to the contrary, the bought-and-paid-for fictitious reality they are promoting somehow turns out to be factual. We’re -still- prosecuting and jailing 90+ year-old concentration camp guards; past a certain threshold of monstrously pyschopathic behavior the public memory and will for vengeance becomes very competent indeed.
Presumably carbon executives have their future legal strategy figured out. Will it be good enough?
Back to cosmic rays and the sun Any comments out there about M. Ram, M.R. Stolz, and B.A. Tinsley, “The Terrestrial Cosmic Ray Flux: Its Importance for Climate”. EOS Vol. 90, No. 44, 3 Nov. 2009? I don’t have the background to assess it adequately.
Comment by Wally Woolfenden — 30 Nov 2009 @ 8:43 PM
From the current debate, one gets the impression that climate science researchers have switched roles and become environmental activist. Accordingly, many people suspect that they have lost their objectivity and are now akin to intelligent design “scientist” who search only for evidence that confirms their theories, while ignoring (and supressing) any data that might dispute it.
Comment by Michael P. Copeland — 30 Nov 2009 @ 8:47 PM
I understand your concerns, but consider the implications of what you are saying. It’s not just a matter of people being smarter, people would need to be far better educated in climatology in order to properly assess who is right and who is wrong in the debate; a huge and insurmountable problem. That is why media corporations need to be restricted in what they publish to climate change conclusions derived from the peer-review process.
Society has a long, long tradition of relying on experts in areas where the public cannot be relied on for informed and intelligent decisions. That is why in the U.S. we leave decisions regarding the safety of food ingredients and chemicals to the FDA. We don’t allow corporations or private citizens to weigh in on matters as important as food safety.
Combine together all of the various other matters for we limit free speech to select professionals and they would not equal the importance of the matter of climate change and the threat global warming poses to civilization. That is why we need to apply similarly strong free speech limits on the climate change debate.
You are making a straw man argument. I have never come near wishing to “throw all skeptics in prison.” When you resort to arguing against statements never made, you merely weaken your case.
Please do not minimize the long standing precedent of many, many laws prohibiting many, many forms of speech, because such speech was, through a democratic process, deemed either hurtful or dangerous. By doing so, you advocate against the right of society to protect itself from harm, and against the Constitution that gives us the right to enact such protections. You seem to advocate anarchy over law.
Boy! George Ortega took a pinata to a hornet’s nest on that issue didn’t he. Ok! a hefty degree of compromise is needed..I can’t see too much at fault by making illegal the blatant lies told and spread through vested interest groups if the larger community is going to benefit. I would always support the pricipals of democracy if things were stable and predicatable but we now live in unprecedented climatic times and the ‘pre-industrial’ glacial pace (pardon the pun) of the democratic system might not be sufficient to inact urget CC mitigation measures on a global scale. You’re not a heritic for carefully considering this point..just a concerned global citizen!
Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 30 Nov 2009 @ 9:02 PM
George, has this _anything_ to do with Denmark?
Don’t you have a blog of your own for this hobbyhorse?
George, that’s so quaint and so colloquial – free speech anarchy in America.
You want anarchy? Consider this. An entire terrestrial planet subject to nearly unrestricted open atmosphere industrial strength chemical processes, the effluent poured into our waters, whole primordial forests felled and burned and entire mountaintops moved and reservoirs exhausted to power it.
And you’re worried about someone yelling ‘fire’ on a crowded planetary surface. Anarchy is what we have. We’d like to use our voices and our minds to reverse that trend, and restore science and rationality to its rightful place. You’ll just have to excuse us if we exercise our uniquely American right to free speech to replace a REAL anarchy with a little verbal anarchy.
I don’t recall where I made such a statement, but what about “praying for the power of censorship” do you find so funny? Just curious.
Thanks for the head’s up on “innumerate.” You presumably knew that I meant “enumerate.”
Inhofian refers to the making of outrageous claims that, for ideological reasons, opt for the non-peer reviewed conclusions of a relatively minute number of scientists over a strong and discipline-wide peer-reviewed consensus. My proposal for climate change misinformation legislation is actually and strongly anti-Inhofian.
I think you are gravely mistaken by referring to the issues relevant to the climate change debate as “political ideas.” They are clearly scientific ideas, which is why they should be left to the expertise of scientists and the peer-review process.
Yes, attempting to pass a climate change misinformation act would very likely evoke such massive opposition from both sides of the political spectrum that it would place the issue of global warming so squarely at the center of media coverage and public debate that the public would finally be focused enough for a long enough time to understand the gravity of the global warming threat. And if that were the effect of simply threatening such legislation, you can imagine how much better the public would understand this threat if they were legally protected from the non-science that now has them so thoroughly confused.
– If a set of ice cores showed no correlation between CO2 content of the air and temperature
– If the artic ice were expanding in extent over the last several decades
– If the glaciers in the Alps, Kilimanjaro, and the Andes were increasing in mass and extent
– If global temperatures had shown a marked and continued decrease over the past, oh, 20 years or so.
Those are just a few.
It isn’t just about one equation or one phenomenon. Read the FAQ here. But understand that the fact that CO2 raises temperature is well-understood and beyond any doubt. Mars, for instance, should be a lot colder than it is but it has a thin blanket of CO2.
Actually, those with the closest tactics to the ID crowd in the climate change debate seem, to me at least, to be quite a number of the sceptics. When asked “well if you disagree that’s fine, but what is your alternate theory to explain these observations?”, they often just say “muvvanaturediddit”. No need to explain how, why, or by what mechanisms. Of course, I assume Mother Nature also planted the evidence which appears to suggest anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions could be a contributing factor. Naughty old girl! ;)
“Accordingly, many people suspect that they have lost their objectivity and are now akin to intelligent design “scientist” who search only for evidence that confirms their theories, while ignoring (and supressing) any data that might dispute it.”
You have your roles mixed up there. The AGW deniers are akin to the Intelligent Design “scientists”. Remember, it’s mainstream science that accepts both evolution and AGW. It’s only the ideologue driven (religious or political) minority that keeps looking for any method (honest or not) to make mainstream science look bad.
The ID community (like the anti-AGW group) does no real science, but spends all their time taking potshots from the side-lines.
BTW, outrage such as is implied by Ortega’s proposal is fairly easy to understand if one is presented with a litany of facts and history on the professionally operated and and coldly calculated efforts to delude the public on anthropogenic climate change, as encompassed by Hoggan and Littlemore’s “Climate Cover Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming”.
There’s a review of Hoggan and Littlemore here on RC:
The book describes in detail how the envelope of what is commonly understood to be tolerable corporate behavior has been exploded by the operatives running the commercially motivated deception campaign swirling around climate science.
Corporations are explicitly motivated by and fashioned around objectives having only coincidental connections to public welfare. Numerical results describing the success or failure of a corporation have nothing directly to do with what is good or healthy. It is no surprise that corporate actions frequently resemble the behavior of psychopaths, on a grand scale.
Hoggan and Littlemore’s book describes corporate misbehavior run amok on a scale almost unparalleled in history, except perhaps by certain players in the armaments industry.
You are barking up the wrong tree. You are not getting any traction with your idea. Your persistence with repeated long tracts saying the same thing over and over again in response to an accumulation of negative replies is telling. Your actions of presenting this topic, in this way, in a thread on a science topic, are the tactics of a common troll attempting to sidetrack a blog.
Don’t feed the Trolls.
There have been several requests for information from the knowledgeable regarding Svensmark’s response to Laut and on a Ram, et.al. paper. I am also interested in these on-topic questions.
“Since science is supposed to be falsifiable then what conditions would be necessary to falsify anthropogenic global warming?”
I can think of a few possibilities that would certainly weaken it:
1) A 30 year trend where global temperatures are decreasing and CO2 levels increasing or vice-versa
2) A historic period where CO2 levels were significantly higher and temperatures were significantly lower, while all other contributing factors were close to current conditions (i.e. you can’t compare apples and oranges).
3) A chemical analysis of the atmospheric CO2 that demonstrated the source wasn’t from human activities.
4) A decrease in atmospheric CO2, while human emission levels remain constant.
5) A significant increase in measured solar energy received by our planet.
“If everything can be blamed on global warming, even contradictory things, then how is this hypothesis falsifiable?”
You seem to confuse things said in the popular press or asserted by denier bloggers with what actual climate scientists say. Not everything is blamed on global warming, but anomalous weather situations (both hot and cold, wet and dry) fit perfectly with the theory of AGW and are expected to increase in frequency and/or magnitude. There’s nothing contradictory about that.
“And if it isn’t falsifiable then it surely isn’t science.”
You assert that the legislation I am proposing has no possibility of being enacted into law, but provide absolutely no supporting argument or evidence for the assertion.
Here’s why I am very, very confident that climate change misinformation legislation will be enacted into law within the next few years.
To avoid catastrophic and irreversible global warming, in 2007 the IPCC recommended an 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. 80 percent of 1990 levels translates to over 90 percent of 2010 levels, and the global population in 1990 was 5.2 billion while the estimate for global population in 2050 is 9.2 billion.
The IPCC’s 2007 recommendation was based on the understanding that 450 parts per million of atmospheric CO2 concentration was the catastrophic threshold limit, however in late 2008 James Hansen and others published a more robust non-model generated analysis concluding that our atmospheric CO2 concentration threshold is actually 350 parts per million, or less. That change in our understanding means that rather than reducing yearly CO2 by over 90 percent of our current 2010 level by 2050, we are now faced with the daunting challenge of, by 2050, reducing CO2 THEORETICALLY by as much as 150 percent or more of the current 2010 level (which I imagine would involve major sequestration), or PRACTICALLY by as much as – what? – 90 percent of 1980 levels? (perhaps one of the scientists here could do the math.)
In addition, we continuously run the risk of abrupt global warming that could occur at any time, and the longer we delay action on global warming the greater that risk becomes.
We simply do not have the years or decades that it might take via the free public debate route to convince the public and politicians to take those actions in a timely manner. That’s the simple reality we face. I refuse to believe we will opt for protecting the right of a few misinformed, ignorant, and/or irresponsible corporations to spout their nonsense over the potential entire collapse of human civilization over the next several centuries. Self-preservation will always trump both pseudo and genuine free speech rights, and that is why a climate change misinformation act will be passed within the next few years.
This is a really funny thread. ‘Ortega’ is an obvious Internet troll. A fact missed by so many bright people. Maybe it was the cosy confines of familiar company…
Comment by Anand Rajan KD — 30 Nov 2009 @ 10:48 PM
Orwellian refers to totalitarianism. Limiting media empires like Fox News to reporting peer-reviewed findings on climate change by no stretch of the imagination amounts to totalitarianism. You’re relying on the “slippery slope” scare tactic, however, democracies have proven themselves quite capable over the last two hundred years of protecting their citizens from various dangers without resorting to the totalitarianism you believe climate change misinformation legislation amounts, or will inevitably lead, to.
Just imagine what would happen if we allowed drug companies to, at will, challenge any and every decision of the FDA, under the guise of free speech rights. Imagine what would happen if we allowed anyone at all to practice medicine or law without a license. Imagine what would happen if we allowed anyone at all to freely publish our national security classified information. Imagine what would happen if we allowed product manufacturers to make any claims they wished, regardless of how truthful they were. What I am getting at is various curbs on free speech are, and have been, part of the American legal system for over two hundred years. Notwithstanding, the free speech you refer to seems to be alive and well enough.
If it were OUR world we were destroying by opting for unlimited free speech over climate catastrophe, perhaps your “Live free or fry” ideology might be more convincing. But what you are saying is that you want corporations to have the right to say whatever they want regardless of how it affects people who are not even born yet. Faced with the world those people will encounter if we fail to act quickly, strongly and boldly enough on global warming, I doubt that even a single one of those unborn souls would agree with, or even understand, your preference for a free speech that only has meaning to the extent that one is alive to enjoy it.
“Is it irrational to postulate that the sun has an influence on earth’s climate?”
What I find irrational is for Svensmark to claim that :
“The long-term change in the average flux is as large as the temporary variation within one solar cycle.” 
“The 2% change in low cloud during a solar cycle, as seen in figure 3, will vary the input of heat to the Earth’s surface by an average of about 1.2 W/ m^2, which is not trivial.” 
“The speed and efficiency with which the electrons do their work of stitching molecular clusters together took us by surprise.”
“Cloud water content as gauged by the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) reaches a minimum ~7 days after the Forbush minimum
in cosmic rays…”
“Here is prima facie evidence for suspecting that much of the warming of the world during the 20th century was due to a reduction in cosmic rays and in low-cloud cover cover.”
I’m not sure I understand your point. In order to address the mass public confusion about global warming we need SOME authority on climate change. The peer-review process is as reasonable a criterion as we have for distinguishing real science from pseudo science. If Svensmark’s work were to make it through that peer review process, it could be reported on by media corporations. If not, it could not. Perhaps the legislation is not as perfect as it could be, (and that is where scientists would come in to refine it as deemed necessary), but it would be a million times better than the anarchy that is causing so much climate change confusion among the public today, and preventing us from getting on with the actual task of fighting global warming.
For me, to falsify anthropogenic climate change would take 3 things:
1)Show that the measurements of the activity of the sun are wrong, i.e. show that all the observations of the sun’s radiation since 1950 are systemically wrong.
2)Show that the developments in 13C/12C -ratios in oceans and atmosphere can be explained some other way, i.e. prove a mechanism that produces excess of 12C present and that this mechanism hasn’t been active before 1950s, alternatively prove there has been a change in the way plants sequester 12C/13C after 1950s.
3)Show that subatomic particles from cosmic rays and their specified effects can be observed on macroscopic level after 14 days (the average time it takes to precipitate) (Svensmark proved true), additionally explain how this is linked to the ‘iris effect’ proposed.
For me, it’s much easier to doubt the exact amounts of warming the additional CO2 causes, since there are some ecological responses that may have something to say with that f.e. enhanced carbon sequestration on the bottom of the ocean (fe. by the iron-fertilization from some previously unexplained geologic process (MnFe-nodules released?)) or the general enhancement of the plant growth in some trheshold level of CO2 (plant genomes aren’t fully explained), pretty slim hopes, I admit. These, however have not happened (as we understand it) during the time humans have traversed the earth, so ‘m afraid that unless back in 350ppm in (idontknowinwhattime, shortly), the human race will see a planet with conditions warmer that He has never before seen (slipping to religious talk, sorry). No doubt the conditions during the ice age (especially near the ice sheets) were harder but then there was an abundance of animal life to feed a small population. This problem of AGW, I think, is linked to the question “what it is to be a human?” and accordingly, pondering that, one may find things to like and things to not-to-like of oneself.
We’re seeing the American Dream turning into the American Nightmare, with the rest of the world trying to catch up to the conspicuous consumerism we’re ruining the world with. Thanks in part to RC and folks willing to submit thoughtful and informative responses we’re seeing light shed on some of the grim realities.
If so-called skeptics think this is just more enviro-alarmism I suggest they come out to central Texas where a dry spell has turned into a couple of years of exceptional drought, to many worse than the 1950′s drought of record and tell people who work the land we have global cooling.
Sure, right now the coming El Niño rains have busted the drought for awhile. But then what? The 1998 El Niño was followed by a pronounced worldwide temperature spike. I suspect next year the ’09/10 El Niño will put an unmerciful end to talk of global cooling. But I think I’d rather have the baloney than the dead Cedar Elms and old Texas Oaks all over the place. In summer the last few years we’ve had to fill our rainwater harvesting cisterns with well water. Now we wonder about the river running dry and the well silting up.
I could go on… like with the ragweed stems that look like the trunks of small trees with their responding to the increased CO2 in the river bottoms. The butterflies I used to photograph are mostly disappeared this year. I saw not one of the otherwise ubiquitous red wasp nests on the place. Insect life was largely wiped out this year. The armadillo that used to live under the porch probably staved to death.
According to the climate models this is the way of it. And it’s going to get worse. I so hope the models are wrong myself. I fear they aren’t. I’m leaving the rest of my views on AGW denialists to your imagination.
M. Ram, M.R. Stolz, and B.A. Tinsley, “The Terrestrial Cosmic Ray Flux: Its Importance for Climate” appears to be only available to insiders to the global warming conspiracy – I get
“AGU’s Online Services Log-in
This is your log-in for any password-protected part of the AGU Web site.”
when I try to access it. We need to get a few hundred activists to file FOIA requests, or maybe a hacker can get a copy to McIntyre to audit it.
The abstract sorta indicates that the electrical conductivity increase caused by CRF ion production, rather than the ions per se, are the mechanism which amplify solar variation. Is there an AGU member or someone not as cheap as me who has bought a copy that can summarize the article?
Hate to ask you to do this. But I’d like to see a more organized version of all of these supposed “fudging claims” and then their appropriate rebuttal with annotations (like you have provided in the comments). I suspect its a lot of work, but I think its well worth it. I’m sure there is exhaustive data about this…and you have other pressing needs.
Perhaps you can snag a web developer or two as well and do a proper job of this and flood us with the data and cross analysis. I know this is a serious project, but I think its time the scientists figure out how to communicate with the public. It seems as if most of the suspicious activities had to do with concerns of sending the public the right information.
When the dust clears from this incident, nothing will change and AGW will be even harder to dispute. Even still, its time to hold everything up to the light and examine it…and its not bad to do a last minute look back especially with all of the public skepticism.
Did Evensmark, Lassen and Christensen try to measure solar output from the ground in Denmark? NASA has so many spacecraft making measurements continually above the murk of the atmosphere; as RC’s previous post listed. Looking elsewhere doesn’t make sense. It was all a mathematical error? That doesn’t make sense either. Didn’t NASA already analyze and graph the data for them? Why wouldn’t anybody just use the data as processed by NASA? For that matter, why would a journalist not ask NASA for the correct information, unless correct information wasn’t what they wanted? I subscribe to SpaceWeather, a NASA web zine, to keep track of what the sun is doing. I know more depth is offered by NASA. Why would anybody do otherwise? Being a government agency, NASA is unbiased. I can say that as a retired Federal employee.
Question 2: Why would people prefer that something beyond our control be the agent of our demise? Since the real culprit is us, we can fix it and live. Their attitude makes no sense. Can anybody explain the strange psychology please?
Gavin. Many Agricultural societies and advanced civilisations have been displaced by natural climate change. Just look at Mesopotamia and the Moche Indian civilisation to mention only two.
And these occurred in the current interglacial.
[Response: Of course. But you are missing the point I was trying to make. The commenter was claiming that since sea level rise had happened before, anthropogenic sea level rise couldn't possibly be a problem. That was logicaly incoherent. - gavin]
Woops! I must distinguish between the output of NASA scientists and political appointees. They are 2 different things. NASA scientists give you fair and unbiased data. Political appointees are a different story.
during the 1980′s at an interview with the e.p.a. in melbourne i was told that they had been given 1 million dollars to study climate change by bob hawk.They said that there were’too many variables’ to come to any reliable conclusion but since they had been given 1 million dollars they would be doing it anyway.There is an element of this in the current debate and scientific analysis of climate change where a lot of money is being thrown at it at both sides of the debate.Integrity and a pure search for truth is the hardest thing in this situation but the most neccessary.
If a big comet was detected to be on a collision course for Earth, would you oppose action saying: “The earth has survived millions of comets in the past. Without comets, dinosaurs would still roam the earth and us mammals wouldn’t be here. Let it hit the earth!”
Comment by Anne van der Bom — 1 Dec 2009 @ 5:49 AM
okay just looking for a simple answer to a very simple question. Hopefully this wont end up like the chaos question which appears unanswerable for some odd reason.
Did your climate model predict the cooling since 1998? A simple yes/no will suffice with a reference to the data showing the cooling.
#141 “Since science is supposed to be falsifiable then what conditions would be necessary to falsify anthropogenic global warming? ”
I’m a scientist, but not a climate scientist (so I may be wrong), and I was thinking about this the other day.
Increased CO2 in the atmosphere leads to increased temperatures. I don’t think anyone can deny this (why is the surface of the moon colder than the surface of the earth – answer “there is no atmopshere on the moon”). However “how much does temperature rise as CO2 increases is the relevant question. If the answer is “not much” then there isn’t a problem (or rather, there isn’t a temperature problem. We might still kill a lot of life in the seas through acidification).
Of course, the statement “CO2 absorbs infrared radiation” and “an atmosphere containing IR absorbers will heat a planet” are falisifiable. But true. So that bit is scientifically rigourous.
Tp prove that climate sensitivity is low (i.e. that 550ppm CO2 doesn’t raise temperature above ‘safe’ levels) you’d have to do the following
First, you’d have to start by demonstrating how the range of temperature measurements and proxy reconstructions (tree-rings, bore-holes, corals etc.) are consistent with a low value of climate sensitivity.
There’s an excellent post (and paper) that sets out very clearly why Climate Sensitivity is 3 degrees (give or take)
This is clearly falsifiable. One can do temperature reconstructions and work out the value of climate senssitity yourself. If you got enough data that showed it was lower than, say, 1 degree, that would deal a fairly fatal blow to efforts to significantly reduce CO2. But I wouldn’t waste my time. A lot of research has gone into this and the result is robust. (But falisfiable, so ‘proper’ science)
I was going to go on about models here, and why you can show not that they are ‘right’ but at least that they are ‘wrong’ (in that a model that can’t accurately recreate climate in the 1980s is not going to reproduce climate in the 2030s.) But I have some work to do.
Barton Paul Levenson has some very good stuff on the skills of models, and their ability to reproduce observed climate phenomena. Suggest you take a look there.
#151 “From the current debate, one gets the impression that climate science researchers have switched roles and become environmental activist. ”
Which researchers? How many authors on the IPCC report? How many of these are ‘activists’? What %age is that?
Could you give specific examples (Hansen aside) of researchers getting involved in activism?
Theo Hopkins #131:
> At this moment, the BBC is under enormous pressure from the denialist camp. It is a publicly
> funded service, and many, particularly on the right, are saying “we are spending the money
> to pay the BBC – so where is our (the denialist) side of the “balanced” reporting?”
These clowns may well ask where the balance is when the BBC reports the state of the markets and don’t bring on a Trotskyite to present the alternative view.
So, if everything was settled 70 years ago with what sounds like 100% certainty – why not cancel all climate research.
The fact of the mechanism of AGW was settled. Obviously not everything is known about the climate, any more than everything is known about medicine or physics or chemistry or anything else. There is always room for more research. But the fact that we don’t know everything does NOT mean we don’t know enough to act on.
and if CO2 makes the Globe Warmer why did it cool down from WWII until the 1970s
Because of the massive industrial revival of the second world war and the sulfate aerosols it pumped into the stratosphere in large quantities.
Sigh, Prof. Laut’s allegations is a classic from the Danish climate debat.
Over the years he has repeatedly made the claim that he has caught Svensmark in grievious errors. However as can be seen in this response to Prof. Laut’s restatement of this claim (23. October, 2009) by Prof. Eigil Friis-Christensen (Director of the Danish National Space Center) it’s just hot air.
An irritated Svensmark asked for a statement from the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (Udvalget Vedrørende Videnskabelig Uredelighed) in 2003.
They concluded that Laut’s claims of scientific dishonesty were incorrect. It was a matter of scientific disagreement. All Laut’s points have been refuted by Svenmark in various articles and by improved collection of data.
I’d like to echo Wally Woolfenden’s request for “Any comments out there about M. Ram, M.R. Stolz, and B.A. Tinsley, “The Terrestrial Cosmic Ray Flux: Its Importance for Climate”. EOS Vol. 90, No. 44, 3 Nov. 2009? I don’t have the background to assess it adequately.”
who should, like the teletubboids featured in the British advertising industry’s campaign for Copenhagen :
“=pray= that, despite all evidence to the contrary, the bought-and-paid-for fictitious reality they are promoting somehow turns out to be factual.” Having Ortega hanging around a climate science site making a surrealist case for 1984 can only lend streeet cered to 2012
[Response: Russell, we went over this years ago. You are mistaken. - gavin]
#199 Mike M, I’ve been lurking here for the past three years. During that time I learned quite a bit (Little science in my past) about the history of AGW. What you’ve just posted is what has been referred to over and over as “Zombie science.” It’s a false “scientific” claim like the one you just made that no matter how often it’s shot down, it still keeps walking.
The transcript of “An Inconvenient Truth” is easy to find on-line (Google is your friend here). When I went through a copy of the transcript and could find no mention of a 20-foot sea-level rise by 2100. Perhaps I missed it because my eyes are getting bad. Could somebody here help me out?
I’m so happy you feel like you are learning some new things :-)
However you have not answered my question in the slightest.
1) The question on whether climate is chaotic is vital and primary from a foundational perspective re the climate models. There’s nothing zombie-like about wanting to get a straight answer on that.
The problem is that neither Gavin nor any other agw proponent seems able to answer a very fundamental question as to the physics their models are based on. In fact the IPCC does have a secton on chaos and rightly states that because of it, these models are highly unpredictable. I’ll reference it if you need.
But then Gavin still won’t admit that climate is chaotic. There is serious discrepancy from a foundation perspective.
[Response: Why would I 'admit' something for which there is no good evidence? The climate in the models is not chaotic (which is an easy thing to test). The real world may be or it may not be, but your desire to have me 'admit' something smacks more of dogma than science. - gavin]
2) Have any of the models correctly predicted the cooling from 1998? Simple question just needs a simple answer.
[Response: Rephrase: Are there model simulations that 'cooled' as much from 1998 as seen in the obs from one particular source? Yes. - gavin]
Both are very valid and important concerning the validity of the climate models predicting catastrophe.
About what would falsify “AGW” for me, that’s really simple: a rabbit fossil from the Precambrium. Oops. Wrong denialism. What about temperatures not just “stopping to go up”, but going down to, well, why not 1980 levels?
OK, I’ll stick my layman’s neck out and offer my two cents on Svensmark’s rebuttal to Laut (referenced by Guy above), as always in the hope that more knowledgeable people will feel provoked to step in and correct me. (Laut’s reply to the rebuttal is here, by the way.)
I think the most substantive question here concerns Marsh and Svensmark’s (2000) more recent work on GCR/low cloud cover. Laut (2003) makes two telling points: 1) questionable agreement after 1989 and none after 1994; 2) a half-year lag between the steep rise in cosmic rays and that in cloud cover after 1992.
In the rebuttal Guy pointed to, Svensmark does not address (2) at all though it seems a serious concern. His reply to (1) is that the “deviation between GCR and cloud cover … after 1989 and before 1994 is not statistically significant”. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to mean that the correlation /is/ significant? After all, that is what he has to prove.
He does suggest an explanation, even a published one, for the divergence after 1994 — a satellite intercalibration problem. Now, Gavin has reported here, based on talking to the ISCCP people, that there is no good reason to put in a /trend/ correction because of a gap in the satellites. (Might be worthwhile to get this point into print somewhere if it’s not already? Anyone doing a review article on solar influences…?)
These I think are the objections that continue to bear on Svensmark’s position today, and that his 2003 (?) rebuttal fails to meet.
Having said that, I have misgivings about Laut’s thinly veiled accusations of scientific misconduct (once a “strange pattern of errors”, now it’s “manipulated data”). Last year, as a newcomer to this debate, I read Laut (2003) and Damon and Laut (2004) without raising much of an eyebrow. But after the Yamal controversy and “Mike’s Nature trick” canard, though, Laut’s style of argument strikes me ClimateAudit-ish.
Especially when he is talking about decade-old papers (1997, 1998) with their curve made partly up of ISCCP data and partly of DMSP data. This may have been a bad idea but the papers didn’t try to hide that it was done. And Svensmark’s research has changed tack a bit since then.
I /can/ see why Laut continues to go on about this, sure. The old graphs continue to be touted by denialists as proof of a decisive solar influence by denialists. And Svensmark continues to reference them as seminal contributions and as early proof of the theory he’s currently defending.
But isn’t the problem simply that the claimed correlation has not stood the test of time, and that it was probably a bad idea to extend the time series with a divergent satellite product?
Insinuating something more sinister, as I think he does, seems imprudent. Nor does Laut’s new letter add anything new to the discussion. So this post feels a bit out of place on RealClimate.
I’m having problems getting hold of “The Terrestrial Cosmic Ray Flux: Its Importance for Climate” by Ram, Stolz and Tinsley. EOS (Transactions, American Geophysical Union) Volume 90, Number 44, 3 November 2009, pp. 397-398.
It’s not available for download on AGU’s website (even if you’re willing to pay) and my local university (University College London) doesn’t subscribe to EOS past 2004. Also, I can’t find an impact factor for EOS (does it have a low IF??)
This paper is being cited by some sceptics as “proof” that AGW is wrong and that “it’s the Sun, stupid” so it’d be really useful if someone could read this paper and discuss it.
The artifact over which the sea famously rises in the film in question- and its trailers , is indeed the Statue of Liberty, a beat lifted ( by permission ) from Roland Emmerich’s prequel to 2012, The Day After Tomorrow , which also provided AIT’s computer generated scene of antarctic ice shelf calving..
[Response: Russell, we went over this before as well. You are imaging something that is not there. Here is the trailer - no Statue of Liberty anywhere to be seen. - gavin]
MODS – several of us have now asked for RC’s comment on Svensmark’s reply to Laut, which is the entire point of this thread. My last post (unless I missed it) seems to have been barred, which I find disturbing.
I have been a very vocal supporter of RC for many years, but lately I am losing patience – I am genuinely becoming concerned that I am only being presented with one side of the scientific argument. Please – RC comment on the very point of this thread, rather than allowing trolls to take over and discredit the site.
The RC mods expend tremendous effort to share their time and expertise with us. But when they don’t dance to your tune, commenting on what you want when you want them to, you’ll “lose patience” and imply that they’re only presenting a one-sided view? Who died and made you dictator of the RC comments?
You’re acting like one of the trolls who try to discredit this site.
“Perhaps I missed it because my eyes are getting bad. Could somebody here help me out?”
It’s one of the more sciency winger talking points. When you try to pin it down, the accusation turns along the lines that not only is Al Gore fat but he’s misleading in his “vagueness” regarding a time frame. It doesn’t parse, but it successfully wastes time.
In trying to figure out why you decided to end my topic, I went to your “About” page and discovered that “The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.”
As such, it seems you were much more than fair in allowing me to go on and on about climate change misinformation legislation as I did, since the topic is completely political, and addresses a purely political problem. So, thank you for having allowed me to present the idea to the extent that you did.
Aside from having inadvertently posted a political proposal in a scientific forum, I hope you realize that I am not a troll, as some readers suggested.
I first presented my misinformation legislation proposal at the climateprediction.org “Global Warming” forum on February 9, 2007;
I continue to believe that such legislation will empower climate scientists like yourself to communicate with the public without your work being distorted at every turn by political operatives with the very clear and strong agenda of maintaining public confusion regarding global warming.
As such, I hope that eventually you and other climate scientists will realize that these political operatives have the means to drag the climate change debate on for years and years, and I hope you will consider banding together to demand that governments protect your findings and the scientific process in the manner I suggested.
Thanks also for all you are doing on behalf of the planet.
Are you still unable to understand Gavin’s context? It was clear to me, yet somehow veiled from your perception.
Why have you still not yet included in your consideration the comparison of speed of change in climate, and added human based infrastructure that is based on the forcing levels of our current interglacial, and then considered that in the context of cost of the latitudinal shift that is now underway and a direct result of human caused global warming.
Sure, as ice sheets grow and recede with the Milankovitch tide but hunter gatherers did not need to worry about losing their investments in buildings in Miami, Shanghai, Bangladesh. Massive human migration anyone? Survey says, hundreds of millions and possibly billions. Farming production capacity migration? Survey says, hundreds of billions of dollars, and likely trillions.
The human type population was under one billion. There was not concern for whether increased industrial GHG’s would increase the likelihood of droughts and floods that can reduce food production capacity for a population (6.8 billion people) reliant on that capacity.
Sure they had natural droughts and floods, but with regard to human existence, how does this compare. The glacial/inter-glacial transitions were much, much slower.
The answer to your question is not simply a yes or no question.
Climate is 30+ years with attribution. Inter and intra-decadal signals are harder to parse from due to natural variation. Some predictability is possible based on ocean overturn cycles but those when ocean cycles will be positive or negative. There are a multitude of other factors as well.
So there are degrees of predictability available on shorter time scales based on what these cycles and reflexive factors do. There is always more to learn so I expect these decadal cycles will become better understood and eventually increase the resolution of climate predictability in decadal or intra-decadal timescales.
Also, as has been pointed out, natural variation on decadal scales below 30 years without attribution is natural variability. Another way to say it is that this variability is more like weather than climate. At this time, climate signals are more easily identifiable in 30+ years.
There is a lot to think about when considering timescales below 30 years.
Regarding Al Gores Movie, here is what Al Gore said in the movie:
“If Greenland broke up and melted, or if half of Greenland and half of West Antarctica broke up and melted, this is what would happen to the sea level in Florida… (video graphics of effect of ocean rise of that magnitude)”.
There has been an awful lot of spin about the movie but as always, it’s best to stick to facts and context.
BPL (204, et al), as I have long contended, I think the climate (temperature) sensitivity as CO2 progresses from current levels is lacking in robust physics, contrary to what Silk claims in 200, et al).
Trenberth was fully aware of “Natural climate variations” and whatever “model simulations that ‘cooled’ as much from 1998′ when he said
“they can’t account for the lack of recent warming and that it is a travesty that they can’t.”
Now how come you can’t simply admit the same thing he did? Or else dispute your own peer, Trenberth?
Ray Ladbury said, “As such, what would really be needed would be a theory of climate that accounted for the evidence as well or better than the current theory and which did not predict significant warming as a result of increased CO2.”
I’m sorry Ray, but you are making the logical fallacy known as “argumentum ad ignorantiam” – that is quite a common logical mistake.
Jesse said (split up): “– If a set of ice cores showed no correlation between CO2 content of the air and temperature”
Correlation has never proven causation.
“– If the artic ice were expanding in extent over the last several decades”
The arctic? Why not antarctic ice?
“– If the glaciers in the Alps, Kilimanjaro, and the Andes were increasing in mass and extent”
The glacier at Kilimanjaro (not sure about the others) has a year long temp. that is below zero – it isn’t melting – it is ablating and my understanding is that he has been doing this for a very long time. The only way to increase its size would be through additional precipitation.
“– If global temperatures had shown a marked and continued decrease over the past, oh, 20 years or so.”
Well, it has been stable or cooling for the past 15 years – I guess I’ll see you again in 5 years.
“1. CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas.
2. CO2 isn’t rising.
3. The new CO2 is not coming mainly from burning fossil fuels.”
This is the best answer I’ve received, but I was hoping for an actual experiment or observation that would disprove AGW.
Also, a lot of the climate models are based on “forcing” and “feedback” without which, it is my understanding, the models would look much milder.
I guess this is what I was really trying to ask since I believe CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but I don’t think its effects are nearly as dramatic as predicted and I’m not entirely sure how much of the CO2 increase is due to human influence.
Richard Steckis (153) — Human societies dispaled during LGM: Other than the possibility of our remote cousins the neanderthals being displaced southwards and otherwise some groups of H. sapiens in Europe likewise, the only other even remotely significant displacement might have been in what is now North China and Japan. Check maps of glaciation during LGM to see that the effect must have been small, as the archaeological data indicates ever increasing technological improvements in that region from 40,000 years ago onwards.
Associated Press is reporting that Dr. Phil Jones “will relinquish his position until the completion of an independent review into allegations that he worked to alter the way in which global temperature data was presented.”
It’s not an “either/or” proposition. Even if the “deniers” science were junk, that wouldn’t make AGW science objective. It’s a non sequitar in this discussion, because it doesn’t improve the credibility of one side to destroy the credibility of the other.
That’s why I find the defense of “they’re even worse than we are” so unpersuasive. Research doesn’t become objective simple because people who disagree with you aren’t objective either. And so when science begins to look like activism, its credibility isn’t buttressed by charging the opposition with activism as well.
“Which researchers? How many authors on the IPCC report? How many of these are ‘activists’? What %age is that?
Could you give specific examples (Hansen aside) of researchers getting involved in activism?”
I have to confess that I haven’t kept exact percentages, as I wasn’t aware it was my duty to do so. Do you really deny that a number of climate scientist have been urging nations of the world to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, or are you being intentionally obtuse? I can do the google work for you if this is in sincere doubt.
Comment by Michael Copeland — 1 Dec 2009 @ 4:08 PM
above you pass on some claims from Friis-Christensen’s newspaper comment on Laut and Svensmark.
You (or rather F-C) make it sound as if the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty (UVVU) ruled in favor of Svensmark. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that Svensmark brought a complaint against Laut, whom he understood as accusing him of scientific dishonesty, but the UVVU declined to take the case (UVVU letter here, in Danish). The remark about “scientific disagreement” was in the context of explaining how the complaint lay outside the UVVU’s brief. The UVVU did not conclude “that Laut’s claims of scientific dishonesty were incorrect”, as you say; they did not In my reading they disagreed with Svensmark that Laut was making such claims, but I don’t know the rules and procedures of the UVVU, so my reading may be wrong. Unless you know of any further documents I’ll assume the matter rested there, with the UVVU vindicating neither side.
You also say that all Laut’s points have been rebutted by Svensmark in various articles. I don’t think they have (see my #215 above on Svensmark’s web rebuttal), but perhaps you can detail where this happened.
It seems to me that Laut (2003) raised rather more troubling issues about Friis-Christensen and Lassen (1991) than about Svensmark’s papers. I therefore hesitate to take what F-C writes as the final word on this (would be delighted if you could point me to a convincing rebuttal by F-C&L though).
That is an interesting letter from Peter Laut, but I’m afraid that I have to second the comments of Matti Virtanen (#39). The problem with Laut is that he contributed to the contamination of the climate change debate in Denmark with a whole series of ad-hominem attacks on Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen. With Laut the criticism became far too personal and vindictive, and this quite early on in the debate.
Peter Laut is tainted goods.
Declaration of interest: Eigil was my boss from 2000 to 2003, and during that time I was party to coffee-room discussions about the cosmic ray work with Eigil, Henrik and his former postdoc Nigel Marsh. I am highly sceptical about the cosmic ray hypothesis, but respect Eigil, Henrik and Nigel as scientists. They are no more guilty of scientific misconduct than is Phil Jones with his now infamous “trick”.
Also, contrary to what Paul Farrar says (#14), Svensmark has not been “lionized” in Denmark. It is true that the so-called cosmoclimatologist has been the subject of media interest in his native land, but Denmark is a small country, and it is therefore natural that there be considerable domestic focus on a scientist with a high international profile, and who is the subject of so much controversy.
I’ve read it, and cannot see what all the fuss is about. The paper is conservatively written (typical for the staid AGU), and most of it consists of an arm-wavy review of the literature.
Here’s part of the discussion of the effect of cosmic rays on clouds…
“The day-to-day time scale for changes in Jz with correlated meteorological responses has yielded multiple events that demonstrate high statistical significance, with the influence of Jz alone (in the absence of changes in ionization) being a necessary and sufficient explanation for observed correlations. The same processes affecting precipitation and cloud cover are applicable on the 11-year and century time scales. However, clouds of different types at different altitudes and temperatures will respond differently, and with dynamical feedback much difficult modeling is required to evaluate global mean effects.”
And here’s the concluding paragraph…
“In conclusion, this article draws attention to the GISP2 dust measurements that, consistent with many other climate/CRF correlations, provide circumstantial evidence for a Sun/climate connection mediated by the terrestrial CRF. The article also draws attention to mechanisms involving effects of atmospheric ionization on precipitation. These findings point to the need to work to incorporate the effects of the CRF on Jz (and associated nucleation processes), and the subsequent microphysical responses, into macroscopic cloud models that can then be incorporated into global climate models.”
“Circumstantial” pretty much describes the presention. But whatever it is, it’s not exactly a triumph for anthropogenic climate change scepticism.
How much of a factor is elevation of Antarctica with regards to global warming ? It is the continent with the highest average elevation. This would mean thinner air, and my understanding a less dense co2 blanket.
#198 “The earth has survived millions of comets in the past. Without comets, dinosaurs would still roam the earth and us mammals wouldn’t be here. Let it hit the earth!”
I totally agree. We need to clear the ground for the next marvellous step in evolution. All those namby pamby liberals trying to save humans. If they can’t survive a good disaster they’re not evolutionaryly fit enough. We need a free market of disaster survivalism to select for an optimum outcome. No more government intervention on disaster scenarios!
Yes. I must agree. As a Chemical Engineer with 20 years experience in statistical process control, who would be silly enough to believe that the Sun has any relationship to the temperature of the Earth. After all the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere over the last 11 years by man has significantly increased; yet the global mean temperature has decreased. Makes absolute sense to me. Perfect example of the scientific method. But then again, I am not a climatologist. Oh wait. Neither is the writer of the article. (for those on this site that don’t understand what I am doing. It is called sarcasm)
@200 – from Silk
Very interesting comment. You suggest the medium term impact from CO2 is 3C (until we hit 560PPM) – I am wondering what the impacts on the planet are from 3C? Do we pass a tipping point in that 3C band? If not this is the best news in a very long time. It will take 3-6 months to recover from the latest denier strategy. If we have 5-10 years than MORE proof can be brought to bear and we can devise intelligent strategies. I have considered our time to act to be the 1990s – so I’ve been of the opinion we need to act very quickly and very aggressively. Am I taking the wrong message from your 3C post? – thanks
An allegory: In late 1994, Intel’s new Pentium chip was demonstrated to have a flaw in its math coprocessor, or “floating point unit.” A devastating revelation for Intel’s new product. In light of this revelation, the company stood strong, readying itself for a public relations war. Intel’s famous quote: “an error is only likely to occur [about] once in nine billion random floating point divides”, and that “an average spreadsheet user could encounter this subtle flaw once in every 27,000 years of use.”
In his book, Andrew Grove wrote that he and Gordon Moore took a walk as they were readying for this PR battle. Grove writes that he asked Moore what would happen if a brand new board of directors were hired tomorrow. Moore reportedly said: “They would fire us, bring in new management and recall the chip.”
One step forwards..three steps back! A few of you may have learned about the debarcle about the fate of Austrlia’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Malcolm Turnbull (the former opposition leader) CC understander and believer was going to support a bill by the incumbant Rudd gov to inact a ETS. But because of the sceptics in the oppostion party a) Malcolm Turnbull was defeated and b) the bill has now been blocked by the majority of the oppostion. So Australia cannot present to Copenhagen any EMS. Case in Point!!
Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 1 Dec 2009 @ 7:18 PM
“[Response: A claim of scientific misconduct is a serious business. I have seen nothing in these emails that even remotely approaches such a standard. There are people being rude. There are people clearly saying ill-advised things (one case in particular). There are people venting and indulging in hyperbole. None of that is scientific misconduct. If you want to insist that there is such a thing, make a case for it. Where is there evidence of plagiarism? Where is there evidence of falsification of data? This is completely separate from whether or not there is 'a problem' revealed here. The problem of harassment of climate scientists to the point where they can't do their real work is very real. Is it a problem that they get defensive sometimes. Sure. But I'm not going to agree that there are undefined 'problems' revealed here that we need to tackle, just to gain some PR points. - gavin]”
Using peer review to silence opponents,
[Response: Umm... which opponents do you think have been silenced? And what kind of peer review publishes everything submitted? - gavin]
trying to get rid of journal editors,
[Response: von Storch and six other editors resigned - they were not 'got rid of'. The other editor mentioned (Saiers at GRL) appears to have filled out his 3 year stint and rotated off. Who do you think was 'got rid of"? - gavin]
falsifying data (please read the code comments)…
[Response: You think if someone was really falsifying data they would put it in the comments? Get real. - gavin]
this isn’t scientific misconduct in climate science. Its just standard fare.
[Response: No. You were right the first time. This is not scientific misconduct. - gavin]
I just wrote a lovely, thoughtful post on the necessity to convince the public that what pro-AGW scientist say is verifiable since we are the ones funding your research and will be taxed to implement your proposals, whether they will work or be more akin to spitting into the wind. It was rejected by the spam filter.
As an average citizen of exceptional education and intelligence, I have no more time for this.
I read the Idso’s take on Ram et al about GRIP dust, Be10, and solar cycles, . They say “…the dust concentration in the upper 2.8 km of the ice, spanning approximately 100,000 years, “is strongly modulated at regular periods close to 11, 22, 80 and 200 years, all of which are well-known periods of solar activity.” and “in Ram et al.’s words, “strong correlations between variations in carbon-14 and beryllium-10 accumulation rates [which are CRF proxies] …”
I downloaded Be10 and dust data from ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/grip/cosmoiso/grip_10be.txt ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/gisp2/dust/particd.txt
and did a scatterplot of the Be10 versus dust which can be seen at http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/be10vsdust-SoCKl.jpg
I chose a period of relatively continuous data from ~280 to 460 years ago because of limitations of Appleworks – it doesn’t handle discontinuous data well – and interpolated missing data. “Strong correlations” don’t immediately leap out in my albeit limited analysis, nor is the data obviously “strongly modulated”, unlike, fer instance, http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:5/from:1850/plot/sidc-ssn/scale:0.003/from:1850. Perhaps Tamino or someone else whose skills and software would permit a better analysis would see how hard it is to dig out a correlation from the data. Maybe instead of arguing about what “strong” means, we should just publish the correlation coefficient(which Appleworks won’t calculate – I may be forced into actually paying for software that will, despite being a cheapskate).
(If this is a duplicate post, my apologies; I got an error message the first time I tried posting it.)
Ray Ladbury said: “. As such, what would really be needed would be a theory of climate that accounted for the evidence as well or better than the current theory and which did not predict significant warming as a result of increased CO2.”
(I thought I’d responded before, but my internet connection has been a bit fuzzy lately)
Anyway, your argument is a prime example of the logical fallacy known (by many names) often as the argument from ignorance or lack of imagination.
In short, you don’t have to know the right answer to prove something is the wrong answer.
The clearest and most uncontrovertible scientific point is that essentially all of the increase in CO2 over the last 70 years has been due to human activity. Moreover, most of that is due to burning fossil fuels, although burning forests and other land use changes have had some effect. After all, the rate of CO2 increase is significantly less than the rate of CO2 release by humans. This is because natural sinks, such as the oceans are acting as sinks for a part of the CO2 released by humans.
I don’t claim to understand the science behind some of the topics you are discussing but after reading all of the posts I fully understand the public’s skeptical view on global warming. Everything reads like a school yard argument – you’re wrong, I’m right, you’re a denier and you’re a warmer.
If this topic is so pressing and important why can’t you have reasoned debate, quit playing the politics and PR.
Honesty is what people want and it’s certainly lacking in the AGW debate.
Comment by Your loosing the public — 1 Dec 2009 @ 9:06 PM
“Why would I ‘admit’ something for which there is no good evidence? The climate in the models is not chaotic (which is an easy thing to test). The real world may be or it may not be, but your desire to have me ‘admit’ something smacks more of dogma than science. – gavin”
I think you may be mistaken. The definition of chaotic is that small variations in initial conditions lead to large divergence in system behavior, which if I’m not mistaken is the case in the models (since you get many differing scenarios in a range, from perturbing the model inputs); weather simulations are the classical example from which chaos theory originated.
For example, the picture to the right of the article (Lorenz Attractor), while one can obviously tell that there is a structure or trend visible (in the climate models this would be long-term warming) but different starting values can lead to very different (but still similar in terms of the “big picture”) outcomes.
[Response: Right definition, wrong application. The climate is the statistics of the weather - and this is stable to whatever initial condition you start with (i.e. there is no sensitive dependence on initial conditions. It's the difference between the shape of the Lorenz butterfly and a single trajectory. - gavin]
I think the initial reaction of anyone (who is not sufficiently expert and who needs comment from experts) to this exchange, should be, where has Svensmark’s reply to Laut’s 2003 peer reviewed critique, itself been published in the peer reviewed literature? If it hasn’t, and hence hasn’t been subject to the appropriate review by qualified experts, then I think it is quite reasonable to disregard it.
Regarding the assertion: “they can’t account for the lack of recent warming…” I thought it was well understood that the 2007-2008 La Niña dropping Pacific Ocean SSTs as well as the coincident and significant decrease in solar activity due to the low in the sunspot cycle were parts of natural cycles slowing the rise in overall warming. The 2007-2008 La Niña event was the strongest since the 1988-1989 La Niña. 2005 was the warmest year on record, followed by these natural events turning round in 2009. As the sunspot cycle arches upward and the 07/08 La Niña is replaced by the current El Niño persisting into next May we can expect a sharp rise in temperatures, above the high temperatures reached in 2005.
The recent slackening in the overall rise in global land and sea temperatures, taken as a trend and called global cooling
is criminally misleading. It easy to see what’s happening. It’s fraudulent to call it something it is not by cherry picking the data and bracketing the warming trend to substantiate denialist wool pulling. The high levels of CO2 kept overall temperatures throughout the decade the highest in recorded history despite twin natural cooling influences during latter years.
The summer of 2010 will put an end to so called global cooling nonsense. But there will be a spike in 2010 and then the rise in following years will fail to measure up and we’ll wade through all the “global warming has ended – global cooling” garbage all over again, won’t we?
Are there GCMs to predict this? If not there should be.
Your opinion about the extent of CO2 effects and the ratio of human influence is about like the opinion of Rush Limbaugh, or, for that matter, Steve McIntyre and Roger Pielke Jr. Meaningless, in other words.
These issues are determined by observations, measurements, and laboratory experiments, which is recorded and reviewed by actual scientists. That’s where the data comes from.
Re Locust @228: “Correlation has never proven causation.”
Quite true, but you missed the point: without correlation there can be no causation. Prove a lack of correlation and causation evaporates.
“The arctic? Why not antarctic ice?”
Because 1) the prediction is that the Antarctic will in fact warm more slowly, 2) because for purely physical, geographic and orbital reasons the Antarctic is very different from the Arctic, 3) the ozone hole is cooling the Antarctic to some degree.
“it has been stable or cooling for the past 15 years”
A fantasy not supported by reality.
And @229: “a lot of the climate models are based on “forcing” and “feedback” without which, it is my understanding, the models would look much milder.
But then those feedbacks apply to warming no matter what the source of the initial forcing, be it an increase in solar output, a change in orbital configuration, or an increase in greenhouse gases. Not including the feedbacks means not understanding physical reality.
“I’m not entirely sure how much of the CO2 increase is due to human influence.”
All of it. Actually, more like 250% of it, since the ocean and biosphere absorb around 60% of the fossil carbon-based CO2 that we produce each year, at least as of now. You might want to read up on the isotopic signature of carbon in the atmosphere. And then there is the fact that the level of oxygen in the atmosphere is declining ever so slightly, which is exactly what we should see when huge quantities of fossil carbon are oxidized.
TheGoodLocust #229: forcing is the initial effect, which is based on laws of physics (so much more greenhouse gas results in so much more net energy flow into the system). It’s feedbacks that add uncertainties, though not as much as some would have use believe. If feedbacks were insignificant, movement in and out of ice ages would not happen they way it did. The basic shift in energy balance from orbital forcing is insufficient on its own.
ZB #233, thanks for the heads-up. The University of East Anglia has posted a sequence of statements including this one. I would be surprised if the independent review finds much more than that he should be more careful how he words his emails. Of course we are still awaiting the independent review of the totally bogus science of the denial side.
TheGoodLocust— #232; #253, in response to Ray Ladbury:
I accept that one can disprove a theory without necessarily supporting a better one, but the fact is that we can currently understand the concept of climate change on multidecadal to longer timescales through the concept of radiative forcings and feedback. It doesn’t make sense to say “…without which [radiative forcings and feedbacks], it is my understanding, the models would look much milder (comment 232)” since they are defined precisely to allow the energy balance of the planet to change over time as a function of changes in solar irradiance, GHG’s, volcanoes, etc. Indeed, without such perturbations (to the extent that orbital, continental position, and other such boundary conditions are fixed), the statistics of climate would remain stationary forever (at least I haven’t seen any evidence otherwise).
That said, we can currently explain the modern climate change (and many in the past) with high explanatory and predictive power, and with a beautiful combination of models, observations, and theory…so I’m not sure what you feel requires replacing.
When you combined the CSIS report with the MIT and the Copenhagen Congress, you get an idea of the potentials for time scale and mitigation prospects. I’d like to hope they are wrong, but based on the continued disinformation, I have to admit that they are sound more right than wrong.
Your [sic] loosing the public 1 December 2009 at 9:06 PM
Here’s an analogy that may help.
You’re listening to a discussion between two people debating the color of a light source. The light source is emitting photons at a wavelength of 525nm. Person 1 says the light source is green in color, person 2 says it is red. Meanwhile, you are color blind and you are not familiar with the visible light spectrum and the correspondence of wavelength and color, so you cannot discern that person 1 is indeed correct. All that reaches you is what seems like tit-for-tat bickering. The problem lies with you, not with person 1.
Discerning what is worthwhile here requires only that one have reasonable critical thinking skills as well as a smattering of high school level physics.
Published on NewsBusters
Gore Used Fictional Video to Illustrate ‘Inconvenient Truth’
By Noel Sheppard
Created 2008-04-22 08:53
It goes without saying that climate realists around the world believe Nobel Laureate Al Gore used false information throughout his schlockumentary “An Inconvenient Truth” in order to generate global warming hysteria.
217, 224 Gavin – here to keep the drift off-topic from reaching Biblical proportions , and hopefully lay the evident confusion of sources to rest is the relevant section of the :
TRANSCRIPT OF ABC NEWS “20/20″: 18 APRIL 2008
SAM CHAMPION (ABC NEWS)
(Voiceover) Al Gore’s 2006 documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth,” makes the same point with actual video of ice shelves calving. Which shots have more impact?
AL GORE (FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT)
And if you were flying over it in a helicopter, you’d see it’s 700 feet tall. They are so majestic.
SAM CHAMPION (ABC NEWS)
(Voiceover) Wait a minute, that shot looks just like the one in the opening credits of “The Day After Tomorrow.”
KAREN GOULEKAS (VISUAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR)
Yeah, that’s, that’s our shot. That’s a fully computer generated shot. There’s nothing real in there.
SAM CHAMPION (ABC NEWS)
(Voiceover) …and the enormous tidal surge engulfs Manhattan. The movie’s visual effects supervisor was Karen Goulekas.
You started all of these and you say, okay, it’s a 30-foot storm tide, a wall of water. But then you look in the shot and in some shots, 30 feet looks too wimpy. And so you just scale it up. What are you gonna do, show the water going up to the ankles of the Statue of Liberty? I mean, you know, it’s obviously, if the Statue of Liberty’s getting covered over, it’s like, uh-oh, we’re in big trouble.”
Need I drag in the Harvard video of Al on stage in Science Center C , standing in front of his powerpoint still of the scene ?
I stand corrected on the breaking wave being in motion, but the catastrophe movie meme is alive and well despite the real rate of sea level rise remaining in the single digits of millimeters per year.
Which makes ignoring the use of iconography in the service of political hyperbole seems sharp semiotic practice.
[Response: You are now outsourcing your reasearch to newsbusters? That's pretty shocking. If your only point had been to say something about the importance of iconography and the problems of interpreting icons-as-examples as opposed to icons-as-proof, then we could have sensible discussion. But there is no shot of the statue of liberty being engulfed in AIT. The scene they used from DAT was the opening tracking shot flying across the ice shelf- nothing apocalyptic and nothing to do with sea level rise. -gavin]
Everything reads like a school yard argument – you’re wrong, I’m right, you’re a denier and you’re a warmer.
This is a blog. I imagine half the illiterate rants we have to endure do come from school children, or from those people who are deeply distrustful of anyone smarter than they are. This is pretty much par for the course on “teh internets”.
The scientific debate happens in the scientific literature (not in the IPCC – that’s both a review and summary of the scientific debate, but mostly it is a representation of the political and economic debate).
The only drawback of the scientific debate is that non-scientists (and sometimes even non-climate scientists) can’t understand more than a tiny fraction of it. It would take lifetimes to understand every detail! So mere mortals have to make do with summaries, and received wisdom from scientists.
#65: “George Will said that ‘we are wagering trillions of dollars and a substantial loss of freedom on climate models’”
I’ll let the strawman pass that climate models are the only evidence we have… I understand that it makes for good demagogery: everybody knows you cannot trust computers; they crash, give you viruses, come with crappy manuals (if even that), etc…
Currently we are, in fact, betting the future of civilization on the “null model”, which is contradicted by both physics and observations, and running on typically rather stupid and buggy wetware. We need to learn to make better bets.
I’ve been wondering for quite a while now why so many programmers hammer this site about code, source control, etc, when it obvious that scientists as a group do not (and should not) rely on a single code set.
The penny dropped the other day when I came across Eric S Raymonds (ESR) climate rants.
This may not mean much to non-programmers but ESR is credited with being a pioneer of the open source software movement and is well respected in the community. To me, his influence goes a long way to explaining why apparently educated people can talk such utter nonesense.
Well, first of all an apology for the tone of #218, which I must admit I thought I’d just written to the mods re the non-appearance of a previous post (I should have put that I didn’t intend it to be published, which was clearly my mistake). Obviously it was borne out of frustration that thread seemed to be way OT – it seemed odd that the meat of the thread was being ignored while side-issues were becoming the substance, and it still does.
Thanks Andrew Hobbs for #263, and maybe the lack of Svensmark’s peer-reviewed reply should end the discussion there, but then again since Laut himself replied to it, I feel I should follow the argument through.
So what is the upshot of all this to the layman? The initial post (and letter) clearly state one perspective that seems reasonable enough, but Svensmark makes a fair job at defending (some) of the criticism. At that point, the wagons seem to circle and we’re in tribalism again (indeed there is some evidence of ad hominem on the part of Laut).
My concern is that there seems little attempt on the part of RC to tie all this together. If a subject is started with some bold accusations (which may well be entirely warranted), it seems curious to say the least that interest seems to wane when the debate is taken forward by both parties involved. At a time when science is under such intense scrutiny, I’d hope there’d be a little more care.
The scientifically literate can answer this far better than I, but such as I tend to say things more straightforwardly. To say there has been global cooling the since 2008 can only be ignorance or falsehood.
A trend of ten years does not equal climate. Period.
The only way to show cooling is to use 1998 as your start year, and that’s going back many, many millennia.
To get the 1998 peak, you must use one set of data that does not include Arctic, which is where the greatest temp changes are occurring. Climate is about using multiple sources of data to reinforce and add certainty to our understanding. Other data sets don’t support a 1998 peak; 2005 is supported better when fuller data (arctic) temps are used.
Virtually all the other top ten years have occurred since 1998. That means the average and/or mean temp of the past decade is higher than all previous decades. Only someone with no training and no knowledge – or an agenda – could continue to claim global cooling in that context. Anyone who does is admitting freely they are either illiterate with regard to the science or chasing an agenda.
This is all so obvious as to be unpleasant to have to repeat.
So, whether ignorant of the facts or loose with the facts, explain this:
Despite the continued bickering on both sides, even the layman can see now that the issue isn’t about whether or not there is warming…or whether or not it is anthropogenic. The issue is about whether to trust the “consensus” on whether or not it is a perilous crisis. Both sides have probable cause for bias. Scientists have become fearmongerers in a time when the global temperature decline was not predicted. There is no such thing as a denier of climate change.
Re: 245 stevek. Well if you look at greenland there is satellite proof that glaciers at all elevations are thinning and the ice flow quickening. Have a look at the map, greenland is about the size of the US and most of the ice covering it is around 4500m thick, hope you can appreciate the sheer volume of ice here and why if completely melted will raise sea levels by ~7m. Antarctica’s average ice thickness is 2100m extending up to 4500m deep in some places. When it comes to antarctica the greatest degree of current melt is around the coastal low altitudes regions of the western antarctic esp. around pine island glacier and the wilkins ice shelf but there is now evidence that the eastern coastal side is showing signs of thinning as well. The average elevation of the antarctic is about 4000m above sea level. So if the same 4C air temp increase happened to antarctica you should also see glacial melt at almost every altitude as well, also as the planet continues heating up it will hasten glacial melt at higher and higher altitudes.
Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 2 Dec 2009 @ 5:04 AM
Associated Press is reporting that Dr. Phil Jones “will relinquish his position until the completion of an independent review into allegations that he worked to alter the way in which global temperature data was presented.”
Boy, the SOBs really got what they wanted, didn’t they? Namely, to throw a wrench into climate science.
I’m serious. With Limbaugh and Breitbart calling for capital punishment for climatologists, it’s only a matter of time before some moron takes a shot at Hansen or Mann or Jones. The deniers are getting desperate and they’ll try anything, including whipping up lunatics to violence, to stop AGW being seriously addressed.
After the Climategate leak on the internet Gavin said words to the effect that the leaked emails were much ado about nothing. Now what do you say bearing in mind that on Monday, Pennsylvania State University announced it was launching an investigation into the academic conduct of Michael Mann, director of the school’s Earth System Science Center. Yesterday, it was announced that Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, would step aside while his university conducts an investigation.
I’ll be back!
[Response: Investigations are fine and at this point, the only way to cut through the mountain of false accusations, misrepresentations and politically motivated torrent of abuse that is going on. -gavin]
“1. CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas.
2. CO2 isn’t rising.
3. The new CO2 is not coming mainly from burning fossil fuels.”
Locust : “This is the best answer I’ve received, but I was hoping for an actual experiment or observation that would disprove AGW. ”
I’m upset you didn’t like the answer I gave. Still, here goes.
1 – Directly measurable (and measured by Undergraduate scientists all the time).
2 – Measured at sites all over the world. Google “Trends in Carbon Dioxide”
3 – Measured (see IPCC reports, looking for the word ‘isotope’
All three are measurable. So you could carry out an experiment that could disprove any of them.
More importantly, you could also use OBSERVATION to prove that none of this matters, because climate sensitivity is low. As I pointed out in my previous post, OBSERVATION says climate sensitivity is not low. It is around 3 degrees. But, in theory, you could obtain a set of observations to prove it wasn’t. So there’s the experiment. Go and dig a borehole. Extract CO2. Back out global temperature. World out climate sensitivity. If it comes out as, say, 0.5 degrees, problem goes away (hint : it will come out as 3 degrees, give or take)
Locust : “Also, a lot of the climate models are based on “forcing” and “feedback” without which, it is my understanding, the models would look much milder. ”
“I guess this is what I was really trying to ask since I believe CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but I don’t think its effects are nearly as dramatic as predicted and I’m not entirely sure how much of the CO2 increase is due to human influence.”
Well, as pointed out in my previous post, there’s a lot of evidence that suggests climate sensitivity is 3 degrees and very little (there’s a Lindzen paper I’m aware of) that suggests it is significantly lower.
So your assertion “I don’t think its effects are nearly as dramatic as predicted” is based on … what?
On “I’m not entirely sure how much of the CO2 increase is due to human influence.” this is pretty robust. Go to the IPCC report. Istopes show significant human signal in increasing CO2. And O2 has gone down by the amount CO2 has gone up. What chemical process turns O2 in to CO2? I wonder…
Finally, I think we can all agree that humans have burnt billions of tonnes of oil, coal and gas over the last 100 years. You can accept that we can estimate this number reasonably accurately, right?
Now where did all that CO2 go? (Answer : Into the atmopshere, which is why atmospheric CO2 is increasing, and into the oceans, which is why ocean CO2 is increasing)
“Very interesting comment. You suggest the medium term impact from CO2 is 3C (until we hit 560PPM) – I am wondering what the impacts on the planet are from 3C? Do we pass a tipping point in that 3C band? If not this is the best news in a very long time. It will take 3-6 months to recover from the latest denier strategy. If we have 5-10 years than MORE proof can be brought to bear and we can devise intelligent strategies. I have considered our time to act to be the 1990s – so I’ve been of the opinion we need to act very quickly and very aggressively. Am I taking the wrong message from your 3C post? – thanks”
3 degrees is certainly a long way above the 2 degrees the EU is aiming for as ‘safe’ and the 1.5 degrees that Hansen argues for.
I suggest looking at the IPCC Report (Working Group 2) to see the impacts of 3 degrees. Or reading Stern.
It’s not good. But /maybe/ it’s not too bad.
But 550ppm leaves a non-neglidible chance of 4.5 degrees. Worried now?
Sorry. 550ppm might be ‘not too bad’ but it might be ‘very bad indeed’. I’m no expert on impacts.
You : From the current debate, one gets the impression that climate science researchers have switched roles and become environmental activist. Accordingly, many people suspect that they have lost their objectivity
You : I have to confess that I haven’t kept exact percentages, as I wasn’t aware it was my duty to do so. Do you really deny that a number of climate scientist have been urging nations of the world to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, or are you being intentionally obtuse? I can do the google work for you if this is in sincere doubt.
I’m sure a number of climate scientists, including Hansen, have campigned to reduce CO2. I’m sure a number of them (including the dead ones, who’s work is still of relevance) haven’t.
I assume you aren’t suggesting that the private lives of climate scientists should be regulated in some way? Or that they have some kind of ‘moral’ duty not to express political opinions?
You suggestion seems to imply that climate scientists are no longer ‘objective’. But as you yourself admit, you don’t know how many climate scientists are ‘activists’.
Given that, and even allowing for the fact that ‘activism’ (as you describe it) might somehow make one no longer fit to do one’s job, there’s no evidence to support any suggestion that climate science is significantly skewed by ‘activists’ who lack objectivity.
I’m not actually sure why we are having this discussion. It seems rather odd.
The following objective statements are all supported by a large body of evidence and are thus, in my understanding, ‘true’.
- CO2 and other GHGs in the atmosphere are rising.
- The rate of increase is faster than in any previously observed period
- This increase is due, in large part, to human activities, including (but no limited to) fossil fuel combustion
- CO2 is a greenhouse gas
- Climate sensitivity is around 3 degrees
- If we continue burning fossil fuels at the rates predicted by the International Energy Agency, the global mean temperatue will go up, probably by more than 3 degrees, and possibly by significantly more than that
I can’t see how any rationale person can refute any of the above. Given that, I don’t understand how your view on whether or not ‘activism’ reduces objectivity is relevant to this debate.
To refute global warming, you really need (to me) to knock down the paleoclimate evidence. Your perception of ‘objectivity’ is completely irrelevant if the paleoclimate data is correct.
The quick ‘n dirty guide to falsifying anthropogenic climate change (AGW):
1. According to AGW, CO2 controls the climate
2. For the past 10 years, global temperature remained more or less steady whereas CO2 levels went up.
3. AGW theory is wrong.
The same line of argument can be used to falsify the theory of gravity:
1. According to the theory of gravity, objects should fall to the Earth’ surface.
2. That bird in the sky remains there, without falling.
3. Theory of gravity is wrong.
What’s wrong with these arguments?
1. The theory to be falsified has been oversimplified (there are more forces than only gravity; there are more climate forcings than only CO2).
2. The observations have been oversimplified (The bird has wings which can be used to exert an upward force; the expected trend in temperature does not necessarily rise above the expected level of yearly variability over the course of a decade).
3. Therefore the conclusion does not hold.
Observing a bird in the sky doesn’t disprove gravity.
Barton Paul Levenson says:
2 December 2009 at 4:54 AM
It’s really great to know what the consensus is, but the fact is that science doesn’t care about consensus.
Wrong. The scientific consensus and peer-review are how modern science is done, and it has been a tremendously productive system.”
WRONG, WRONG, WRO(NG. Science is not done by consensus. Nor is it done by peer review. Peer review is merely there to vet research as validly done not as a vehicle for advancing science. There is enough evidence (not just in the climate area) where peer review has been used to stifle research and therefore scientific advancement (See: http://climatebalance.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/scientific-peer-review-is-it-a-corrupted-process/ and the comments and link by futureofscipub in that post).
Consensus does not advance science. Science is advanced by valid empirical research which may or may not be in collaboration, not by some mutual admiration club.
[Response: You have a very basic confusion. Science of course does not proceed by everyone sitting around agreeing with each other. But consensus is what is left over when the science is done. Consensus is what goes into the text books (not the primary literature). And consensus is what policymakers should be paying attention to. -gavin]
Russell Seitz, re: CGI footage in “An Inconvenient Truth”
I am stunned at the depth of your confusion here. The only CGI scene Gore borrowed from “The Day After Tomorrow” was a brief simulated flight over the Southern Ocean and up onto the rim of one of the Antarctic ice shelves.
No Statue of Liberty. No tsunami. It is just a visually appealing representation of what an ice shelf looks like.
The strangely edited transcript you posted from Newsbusters is *deeply* misleading. It is clearly trying to confuse the reader, and make them think that the final quote from Karen Goulekas that you cite (the paragraph about the Statue of Liberty being inundated) is referring to Gore’s documentary, when it’s actually referring to the entirely fictional TDAT.
I don’t know whether that misleading impression is due to deceptive editing by Newsbusters, or by you yourself. In either case, it’s an apt demonstration of the degree to which misinformation plays a central role in the “skeptic” movement. (Can someone please explain why this “skepticism” towards the scientific consensus is always combined with a remarkable degree of credulousness towards arguments that go against the grain of that consensus?)
“Response: You have a very basic confusion. Science of course does not proceed by everyone sitting around agreeing with each other. But consensus is what is left over when the science is done. Consensus is what goes into the text books (not the primary literature). And consensus is what policymakers should be paying attention to. -gavin”
I disagree with you completely. Consensus is not what is left over when the science is done. If it were there would be no possibility of modification and refutation of that science at any time in the future. Do not ascribe a greater importance to consensus than it actually has. Consensus is about agreement between like minded scientists. It is not about or has nothing to do with the advancement of science. If it is consensus view of the science and not the science itself that goes into the text books then God help us all.
Policy makers should pay no attention to consensus. The reason being that who is to say that the consensus arrived at is correct? Policy makers if they have any brains whatsoever should interrogate all arguments around a particular area of science and then draw their own conclusions. To just rely on a dominant (and most forcefully put) consensus is both lazy and bad policy.
Research collaboration is good for science. Consensus is bad for science.
[Response: Marevellous - you have just defined an Alice-in-Wonderland world where policymakers should listen to scientists in inverse proportion to how much they agree amongst themselves. Try that with medicial advice. - gavin]
The idea that AGW being politicized science by the Right Wing is fascinating. When I first became of AGW was during a December visit to Australia for its sesqui- centennial in 1988. I was on Sydney’s Manly Beach reading a long article in Time magazine about the subject. When I finished my father in law who was a professor of The History of Philosophy of Science read the article and we both were taken by what we had read. Neither of us had an inkling of anything political about the issue. As I remember the article pointed out that only a minority of scientists bought into AGW.
Sometime later my father in law read a detracting article in “The Economist” (The publication has now come around to accepting the idea) and the conservative National Review (He was a Republican). He had been swayed and decided that AGW was wrong. It became obvious to me that conservative outlets were determined to make the issue political because it caused some inconvenient truths about the way we were destroying our environment and the effects it might have on unfettered capitalism.
Over the years I’ve witnessed the minority of researchers grow into a majority. In 1992 a survey of scientists (According to Wiki) only 35% accepted the theory. Year after year, survey after survey saw the number of skeptics decrease.
Today AGW has hit the political stage in the biggest way by the people who always seem to trend towards our worst impulses. With extreme right wingers like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and others we now have the anti intellectual mob doing what they do best, slowing social advancement.
I’m happy to say that my father in law, a great man who had spent several years on the NSF as an advisor had come around to accept the theory before his death two years ago.
If the right wants to blame the issue for becoming political all they need do is look in the mirror.
“Response: Marevellous – you have just defined an Alice-in-Wonderland world where policymakers should listen to scientists in inverse proportion to how much they agree amongst themselves. Try that with medicial advice. – gavin”
That is merely your interpretation and not a statement of fact. You have fallen for the logical fallacy of the “Appeal to ridicule”.
[Response: How is pointing out that an argument is ridiculous a logical fallacy? - gavin]
Richard Steckis says: “Policy makers if they have any brains whatsoever should interrogate all arguments around a particular area of science and then draw their own conclusions.”
And how do they determine the relative merits of the arguments if they are not scientists themselves? Under your scenario, politics would carry the day, which means that the industrial lobbyists, with their vastly superior political power through money, would dictate policy. This is precisely why we have things like the National Academy of Sciences.
Martin Vermeer #234
“I know, I know, ad hominem squared, but is there any reason after this to take Svensmark seriously?”
Svensmark should be taken seriously when he talks about his own research. But even when it comes to applications of it, I think anyone trying to take his argumentation as purely scientific will soon get into problems. And for the big climate picture, he may even be his own worst enemy today. He seems to avoid going into both ocean circulation and greenhouse gases when discussing climate changes, while the actual (eventual) effects of cosmic rays seem to be more modulating. Whether there are systematic, long-term effects of changes in this kind of radiation – is that settled? I think Svensmark claims that the long term warming trend is strongly influenced by solar activity (mostly magnetism), but has anyone seen him applying Occam’s razor? Without cutting himself up completely, I mean.
I work as an advisor on science to policymakers and I must interject here quickly that your arguments on how the policy/science interface functions are woefully uninformed and simply incorrect. May I suggest that you read up on the fascinating literature that has emerged since the late 1940′s re: how scientific and technical info is utilized in policy, law, and regulation before you sound forth with such loud certainty?
Gavin has touched too briefly on a profound issue re: what policymakers look for in determining what the science is saying to them, but what he has written this morning is in the correct direction.
“Research collaboration is good for science. Consensus is bad for science.”
I wonder what Science is “for” in your world. In my world, Science is there to give us a better place to live in. We know more about our world and can make better choices.
Uncertainties aren’t the point of science. The advantages of knowledge are the point. In the end, you live with a degree of uncertainty because that’s just part of the game. You can’t possibly get rid of all uncertainties. But if there were no practical consensus, no drug would be formulated. No automobile driven. Etc.
Short view: you’re letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. I wonder if you restrict such caution to AGW.
“I work as an advisor on science to policymakers and I must interject here quickly that your arguments on how the policy/science interface functions are woefully uninformed and simply incorrect.”
I work for an agency that also gives policy advice to Ministers of the Crown. Our current minister is not beyond seeking advice elsewhere if he feels he is warranted in doing so. He has shown himself to be an independent thinker and that is why he garners such respect with my agency.
By the way. What power would lobbyists have if policy makers merely listened to their advisors?
Kulmala, et al. (2009): “Our main conclusion is that galactic
cosmic rays appear to play a minor role for atmospheric aerosol
formation, and so for the connected aerosol-climate effects as well.”
Erlykin, et al. (2009): “The analysis made in the present work,
as well as arguments presented in our previous publication ( Sloan and
Wolfendale, 2008 ), gives sufficient basis to argue that CR are not the
dominant factor in the formation of clouds.”
Erlykin, Sloan, & Wolfendale (2009): ” We deduce that the maximum
recent increase in the mean surface temperature of the Earth which can
be ascribed to this activity is < 14% of the observed global warming."
Pierce & Le Page (2007): “Observations from satellites and model
simulations do not support the cosmic ray hypothesis as a major role in
low cloud coverage and climate change.”
Kulmala, M. et al. (2009). Atmospheric data over a solar cycle: No
connection between galactic cosmic rays and new particle formation, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 9(5),
Erlykin, A. D., Gyalai, G., Kudela, K., Sloan, T., & Wolfendale, A. W.
(2009). On the correlation between cosmic ray intensity and cloud cover. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics,
Erlykin, A. D., Sloan, T., & Wolfendale, A. W. (2009). Solar activity
and the mean global temperature. Environmental Research
Letters, 4 014006 (5pp) doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/4/1/014006
David H. said, “Gavin, you can settle your credibility issues rather quickly if you were to submit to a polygraph test through a reputable source and answer several questions … Anyone else with me on this?”
Heck yeah! I think you’re on to something there. By golly let’s breakout the lie detector and the bright overhead light in the small, darkened room. Make sure to have a few other big guys standing off half hidden in the shadows, only their burly arms and clenched fists showing.
And let’s not forget all the other tests we should doing too. After the polygraph lets do a handwriting analysis to make sure this Gavin is not an imposter while the real one is off enjoying himself in the Bahamas somewhere. In fact let’s do a complete psychological writeup including rorschach test and physical including EEG. An eye test to make sure he’w reading all those reports right. A blood sample (FBI DNA purposes you know), and retinal scan (heck that’s about what the bank makes me go through just to cash a check these days!). A breathalyzer test of course to make sure Gavin’s not coming to any world shaking conclusions while under the influence. And an e-meter test just to please the Scientologists out there.
Probably his phone line should be bugged and hard drive confiscated, you never know what we might find there by golly! And have someone follow him around (make sure he brings a newpaper and wears a fedora though).
And you know, I’m thinking a loyalty oath might be called for here don’t you? Just in case we catch him later singing the Russian national anthem.
“UVVU skal efter en gennemgang af sagens akter meddele, at man har besluttet ikke at gå ind i en nærmere vurdering af sagen.
UVVU skal herved henvise til, at det er UVVU’s opfattelse, at uoverensstemmelserne mellem Dem og fhv. ingeniørdocent Peter Laut reelt er udtryk
for en faglig strid, som UVVU ikke kan tage stilling til. Spørgsmålet
om offentliggørelse uden partshøring af Dem hører ikke under UVVU’s
It’s clear that if Engineerdocent Laut were to lodge a complaint about scientific dishonesty against Svensmark, he would get the same responds. That the matter is a scholarly disagreement not scientific dishonesty.
Now Supreme Court Judge Henrik Waaben does know how to write between the lines.
The item judged not within the resort of UVVU was the question of Svensmark not being granted the opportunity to respond to Engineerdocent Laut articles.
no scientist has said that sea levels will rise 20ft by 2100 (really, look it up).
March 24, 2006
London ‘under water by 2100′ as Antarctica crumbles into the sea
The first study to combine computer models of rising temperatures with records of the ancient climate has indicated that sea levels could rise by up to 20ft (6m) by 2100, placing millions of people at risk.
That means that the models of sea-level rise used to predict an increase of up to 3ft by 2100 may have significantly underestimated its ultimate extent, which could be as great as 20ft.
“Although the focus of our work is polar, the implications are global,” said Bette Otto-Bliesner, of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, who led the study. “These ice sheets melted before and sea levels rose. The warmth needed isn’t that much above present conditions.”
Her colleague, Jonathan Overpeck, of the University of Arizona, said: “This is a real eye-opener set of results. The last time the Arctic was significantly warmer than the present day, the Greenland ice sheet melted back the equivalent of two to three metres (6ft-10ft) of sea level. Contrary to what was previously believed, the research suggests the Antarctic ice sheet also melted substantially, contributing another 6ft to 10ft of sea level rise.” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article694819.ece
[Response: That's a great example (and I use it in talks all the time). The Overpeck paper did not say this and the headline writer just made up the 'London under water' quote (no-one actually said that). Read the discussion about that paper. - gavin]
[Response: That's a great example (and I use it in talks all the time). The Overpeck paper did not say this and the headline writer just made up the 'London under water' quote (no-one actually said that). Read the discussion about that paper. - gavin]
I am not suggesting that one of the researchers did. I am sure it was just an overzealous reporter/writer wanting to get more readers. Nothing like an alarming title to do just that.
One would have hoped that Ms. Otto-Bliesner, or Mr. Overpeck, would have been able to make sure that the article was correct from a scientific standpoint, making sure something like this didn’t happen. It’s a shame that writers are allowed to spread such exaggerations. Maybe this is one way that the public gets misled.
Thanks for the link.
[Response: Scientists (nor the journalists that talk to them) get to decide headlines. In this case, the SF Chronicle also had a similar (incorrect) headline, but they changed it quickly after many protests. You are right about this not helping public understanding. - gavin]
I downloaded the HadCRUT global temperature data from http://www.woodfortrees.org/data/hadcrut3vgl/mean:1/from:1968.9 and the Oulu cosmic ray data from http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/ for the same period, 1968.92 through 2009.67, monthly averages, and did a scatterplot using Appleworks. I also calculated the mean temperature and standard deviation for four different bins of cosmic ray intensity; this shows a “strong correlation” (statistically significant?) increase in temperature with increased Cosmic Rays. This is shown graphically at http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/oulu_vs_hadcrut-VAtUg.jpg. The reason I like to show lines instead of just points in scatterplots is grahically demonstrated by the uncorrected Oulu counts versus barometric pressure plot in the lower right of this image; month to month changes in barometric pressure clearly influence the month to month changes in Cosmic Rays(I used the corrected CR counts for the T plots). To my eye, the trajectory of CR versus T anomaly show slight circularish orbits, which would indicate to me that there may be a transient response of temperature to CR changes.
In re 291, Silk said:
“… Given that, I don’t understand how your view on whether or not ‘activism’ reduces objectivity is relevant to this debate.
To refute global warming, you really need (to me) to knock down the paleoclimate evidence. Your perception of ‘objectivity’ is completely irrelevant if the paleoclimate data is correct.”
Your statement, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with climate science research (in general.) Scientist who are activist, (and they don’t see that as relevant) stating their conclusions with far more confidence that what is supported by the data, downplaying the threats to the validity of their work, and pretending the worst possible outcome is the only possible outcome. (Afterall, if you’re an activist and not a scientist, you have no duty to be objective, because the ends justify the means.) That’s bad science.
I’m not a denier, by the way. I do have a background in the academy, and so I care about the method of science. I hate the fact that science in general is going to take a black eye for this mess. Maybe the right answer to put put all the “activist” scientist into one department, separate from the objective sciences. Gender studies, Intelligent Design, and now Climate Science can all live happily together, and those of us that believe in objective research won’t have to deal with the backlash.
[Response: People who keep claiming that climate scientists are too certain need to read the IPCC reports - you know, the ones actually written by scientists. The different issues and uncertainties are all acknowledged and discussed. Reading second or third of fourth-hand distortions of what scientists have apparently said is no way to get a handle on how the scientific community really thinks. - gavin]
Comment by Michael Copeland — 2 Dec 2009 @ 3:54 PM
Rune (#314), the judge’s writing ability is not at issue here; your reading comprehension is. Look, Laut did not complain to the commission. Svensmark did. The commission held initial hearings, then chose not to enter into further review of Svensmark’s complaint. Specifically, the commission did not pronounce a finding, as Svensmark had wanted it to, that Laut’s alleged accusations were wrongful and that Svensmark was not guilty of scientific dishonesty. Neither, of course, did it find Svensmark guilty of anything; the complaint was not against him. It just dismissed is complaint.
But I’m happy to agree with you – for substantive reasons, not speculative exegesis of the judge’s letter – that the Danish commission would be unlikely to find Svensmark guilty of misconduct.
More important than any of this is how the work fits within the larger body of scientific knowledge, and whether recent findings by Svensmark et al are reproducible. Rasmus and others have had a number of good RealClimate posts on this, leaving little doubt that the solar-GCR hypothesis is seriously over-hyped.
Gavin’s comment about actually reading the IPCC Reports is very much to the point. It was clear to me 15 years ago that true skeptics looking for things to criticize would do better to read the IPCC Report, which made pretty clear where the weaknesses in the argument actually lay. Nothing has changed. People still look for conspiracies when in fact pretty much everything of any importantance is right there for anyone to look at, and it is provided by the alleged conspirators.
Gavin, Google, not I , outsourced that quote link- , and distaste for the bearer of the news does not justify ignoring Newsbusters copyright notice by decapitating their lede.
In a better world , It might have been ABC as surfaced by Wolfram Alpha, , ir Climate Progress doing its duty to bipartisan transparency. Dream on- neither side is cross referencing its media out takes or publicizing ita corrigenda.
Gavin: the juxtaposition of Nature & Popular Mechanics in “CRU hack More Context ” makes me feel less awful about Google dragging in Newsbustrs- there would seem to be some rough algorithmic justice in the world ;)
Consensus among people is a general agreement between like mined people.
Scientific Consensus is a general agreement among scientists based on the scientific evidence as reasonably understood through the peer review and peer response process, in accord with the ‘Scientific Method’.
It is reasonable to differentiate between general consensus and scientific consensus. It is more than reasonable to trust the output of the latter above the potential of the former. The first premise includes more belief orientation while the latter includes evidentiary path.
True, the science is never done, but unless you can find attribution and refute a mountain of evidence with a brand new theory that includes observational and modeled verification that matches the TSI as well understood, you are really just a barking dog in world of pretty smart cats.
If you are so illogical as to be unable to recognize a logical fallacy, then your credibility truly is falling faster than terminal velocity should allow.
Because your argument is silly, i.e. based on false premise. In fact your argument is a logical fallacy because you are trying to say that consensus is merely a belief and not differentiating belief consensus from scientific consensus. Don’t forget that context is key.
If the Ministers of the Crown are listening/acting upon anything you say on the issue of climate, I am confident that they are heading in the wrong direction on this issue, if climate is what you are advising them on.
What you are doing here is illustrating that not everyone with an education is reasonable, or even knowledgeable, or logical… Certainly some are, but you do not seem to posses those qualities in your statements. In this case, quoting Noel Sheppard as a reliable source is analogically relationally akin to asking a 2 year old to make a statement on Einstein’s theory of relativity, and accepting whatever babble emanates from mouth of the babe.
“Climategate leak on the internet Gavin said words to the effect that the leaked emails were much ado about nothing… Pennsylvania State University announced it was launching an investigation into the academic conduct of Michael Mann… Yesterday, it was announced that Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, would step aside while his university conducts an investigation”
Jimbo, remember in the original Watergate, it was the people who stole information who got into trouble.
There is consistently a higher standard applied to climate scientists than to denialists. Despite a feeding frenzy around the blogosphere, I have yet to see anything that amounts to anything worse than venting frustration in what was obviously seen as a private conversation.
Contrast that with outright lies told by the denial camp (e.g., one volcano vents more CO_2 than all industries in human history, the sun totally explains the temperature trend, ENSO explains so much variation that there’s no room left for greenhouse warming, Greenland was much warmer than it is now in Viking times therefore the whole world was warmer, clouds are a magic pudding feedback system that kicks in when it gets too warm…). I could go on and on but my point is sufficiently illustrated: the denial camp squeals when there is any hint of a narrow investigation into misconduct (Lomborg and Svensmark are only cases I know of), yet how often do we hear of broad attacks on the mainstream science, including these two enquiries and various US Senate hearings?
“Your statement, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with climate science research (in general.) Scientist who are activist, (and they don’t see that as relevant) stating their conclusions with far more confidence that what is supported by the data, downplaying the threats to the validity of their work, and pretending the worst possible outcome is the only possible outcome. (Afterall, if you’re an activist and not a scientist, you have no duty to be objective, because the ends justify the means.) That’s bad science.”
The definition of ‘activist’ presented was
– I define scientist X as an “activist”, for the purposes of this argument, if X has made public statements calling for action to reduce emissions.
Am I correct?
This definition IN NO WAY leads to any of the following conclusions
“X states their conclusions with far more confidence that what is supported by the data”
“X downplays the threats to the validity of their work”
“X pretends the worst possible outcome is the only possible outcome.”
“X has no duty to be objective, because the ends justify the means”
All you have shown is that some (unknown) subset of climate scientists believe mankind should take mitigation actions.
This IN NO WAY proves that these scientists are somehow ‘bad’ scientists.
If you have evidence that specific scientists are doing ‘bad’ science, present them. Otherwise I take the ‘activist’ tag to be a slur with no actual content. It seems you can’t win the arguement on science, so you’ll win it by impuning the scientific community. Nice work.
Many ‘deniers’ support their position by claiming that an equal or greater number of scientists DISAGREE with the IPCC – and table this website as ‘evidence’: http://www.petitionproject.org/
Superficially at least, this appears to be quite convincing, since I have no way to interrogate their claims beyond a casual spot-check, and the overall impression is of a genuine (if also slightly amateurish) group trying to get a message out.
I would greatly value your opinion on the following:
Is there any way to refute such a position with greater force or credibility?
Is a scientist head-count a valid consideration? (i.e. does a ‘majority’ either way matter?)
How could one measure the relative ‘credibility’ of one group of scientists versus another (degrees? honours? publications?) and is this a valid comparison to make?
[Response: Yes you can tell the difference. A vet's opinion is not worth the same as a climatologist's opinion when it comes to climate. The opposite would be true if the subject was animal health. - gavin]
What gives away the fraud of this petition is that the “journal” article that is presented to “disprove AGW” is from a journal titled: The Journal of Physicians and Surgeons. How weak is that?!
In my opinion, any person/group that uses the Oregon Petition/Petition Project as supporting evidence is immediately not credible.
More importantly, there is not a single credible national or international scientific body that holds a dissenting view from that of the IPCC (2007). These bodies represent the reputations of THOUSANDS of scientists so they do not take a position lightly.
“If your analysis is correct you just proved that the cosmic ray hypothesis failed.”
Scott A. Mandia — 2 December 2009 @ 8:17 PM
Do you think, since it’s not peer reviewed, McIntyre will audit it? If I cross post to CA and WUWT, do you think anyone there will notice?
Julian Tol — 3 December 2009 @ 8:20 AM
“Is there any way to refute such a position with greater force or credibility?” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_consensus is a reasonable place to start.
“Since 2007, no scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion. A small minority of organisations hold non-committal positions.”
Doran and Zimmerman survey at tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf
” In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions (Figure 1). In our survey” (Is it warming, and are humans responsible?)
Oreskes survey at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686
“The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.’ (My emphasis)
“Is a scientist head-count a valid consideration? (i.e. does a ‘majority’ either way matter?)”
The melting glaciers, the declining sea ice. the collapsing ice shelves, the rising tree lines, rising sea level, and the insects moving into newly warmed forest don’t give a rat’s ass what the majority of IPCC or Fox news commentators think. Scientific consensus is a good benchmark for policy decisions, but there are social, political, economic, ethical, etc considerations as well for the policy decisions. Once upon a time, King Canute made a policy decision contrary to a physical process; Rush Limbaugh, George Will, Roy Spencer, and Richard S. Lindzen want to repeat the experiment.
Even I managed to trace some of those ‘experts’ on that petition by randomly selecting names in the list.
One I found to be a college principle who had no science qualification, another was a family doctor working in what we call in the UK a ‘General Practice’ (I even found his email address) and the one that I did find that had some science knowledge, had spent all his life in the coal industry!
Silk (331), your path of scientist to activist is correct using pure logic. But that’s not what happens. First off if you claim no scientist is an activist, you need to get out more. But to the point: the characteristics that Michael Copeland described do not automatically follow logically, but are essential (with some exception to the last one – not being objective) to the activist. If the scientist as an activist does not push the argument in such manner, his/her success as an activist will be sorely wanting. All of this of course is predicated on a scientist persuading non-scientists.
Rod B – I’m not sure what you are saying here. It seems to be that, to be convincing to a non-scientist, one should
“State their conclusions with far more confidence that what is supported by the data”
“Downplay the threats to the validity of their work”
“Pretend the worst possible outcome is the only possible outcome.”
I’d disagree strongly. To convince a POLICYMAKER (which at the end of the day is the ultimate objective) you have to give them the worst case scenario, sure, but if you over-egg it, someone else is going to shoot you down, so you’ve got to be realistic and explain the limits of what you know. These people aren’t stupid, and will get information from other people.
As has been said, the IPCC is a good guide for policymakers, and it doesn’t over-egg. I guess it doesn’t count as ‘activism’ but some of the scientists who contributed to it will have leaned on policymakers in a more campaigning way.
In terms of convincing the public, it would be hard to argue that Gavin (and the rest here) are not ‘activists’ in that they run this site not (primarily) for scientists, but for all.
I think it would be very hard to accuse RC of any of those things. There’s a lot of info here, and it very clearly shows the limits of climate science.
That, for me, is what makes it such a wonderful, and powerful, resource.
wups – copy/past missed the last reference http://www.m4gw.com:2005/m4gw/2009/01/canadas_forests_causing_global.html
“Higher temperatures also are accelerating the spread of a deadly pest known as the mountain pine beetle, which has devastated pine forests across British Columbia and is threatening vital timber in the neighboring province of Alberta. More than 50,000 square miles of British Columbia’s pine forest have been stricken so far..”
“”Once those infested trees are killed by the pine beetle, they are no longer sequestering carbon—they are giving it off.” sadly ironic.
Never mind the cosmic rays hypothesis, the one that has me beat is the denialist sites and op eds that loudly trumpet the decline in sunspots over the last 2 years as somehow indicating global warming has ended. To me fact that we still have relatively high temperatures despite this is strong evidence for AGW.
Silk (337), I still keep to my assertion (which you summarized very well), though you have a good point in that the activist’s excesses have a practical limit. You’ll never get policy makers convinced to upset the fruit basket with a bunch of maybes.
BTW, this is not an “accusation” of any wrong doing here or anything else. Per their goal the RC moderators do a very good (though not perfect — which is OK in my book) job of sticking to the science with all of its uncertainties — big or small. (Can’t say that for all posters here though.) But if Gavin, for example, doesn’t play to his audience like his boss (?) does if called before Congress, he most likely won’t be as successful. Congress wants unmitigated and complete demons to protect their constituents from, unfortunately.
On consensus versus petitions: if a lot of people weighing the evidence from different angles, using different methods to gather the evidence, arrive at consistent answers, your trust in the theory they are working to grows. That is how all science pretty much works. Newton didn’t establish his Laws by proving theorems. He did so by fitting them to observation, and they stood up pretty well until the 19th century. (And still do so if you don’t hit quantum or relativistic effects.)
On the other hand if 100,000 people sign a petition against gravity, what effect do you think that would have? (Sadly, very little: I’d like the option to turn it off when inconvenient.)
The number of people supporting a position only has merit as an argument to the extent that they have all arrived at that position by relatively independent and scientifically defensible paths.
“Your statement, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with climate science research (in general.) Scientist who are activist, (and they don’t see that as relevant) stating their conclusions with far more confidence that what is supported by the data, downplaying the threats to the validity of their work, and pretending the worst possible outcome is the only possible outcome. (Afterall, if you’re an activist and not a scientist, you have no duty to be objective, because the ends justify the means.) That’s bad science.”
There is no logical necessity in this, and activists come in all flavors. But there is, for sure, a tendency among some to indulge in this behavior. I think Svensmark, Spencer and Lindzen clearly qualify for the category by contributions during the last few months. I would like you to analyze Lindzen’s new op-ed piece in WSJ in this respect. A careful analysis of the debate might show that transgressions are not symmetrically distributed with respect to the “AGW divide”.
There should be some criteria for conduct, here is a suggestion: If you say something from a scientific standpoint to the general public, you should say the same under peer review, modulo popularization issues. If you can’t, you should mark your statements clearly as your opinion, to avoid giving the impression that this is scientifically supported. Otherwise..
Albedo increase from low clouds causing cooling would have the greatest effect where the insolation is highest – in the tropics, during the day. High altitude clouds are generally recognized as warming. Perhaps weather variations/circulation changes alter GCR induced tropical and temperate cloud increases in ways that hide or change the sign of the claimed cooling effect, and the increase in high altitude high latitude clouds seen by Todd et al and its warming effect cancel out any long term changes in warming or cooling. (And give no strong correlation between the solar cycle Oulu CR changes and temperature as I noted above.)
“…there are substantial variations in global circulation patterns between El Nino and La Nina, especially in the tropics. These circulation changes can induce cloud changes…”
“you can get good agreement between the model behavior and observations whether the cloud feedbacks are positive OR negative.”
“Todd and Kniveton  examined ISCCP cloud data for 32 FDs (1983-2000) and noted immediate reductions of high level cloud (especially over the Antarctic plateau in winter)”
I am re-imagining climate for myself. Less of either climate stasis or climate cycles and more in terms of ‘strange attractors’. States that climate chaotically falls into because of the interaction of component parts of a complex and dynamic system – and not as a result of simple cause and effect. I have commenced a study of the theory of complex systems (I may be gone for some time) and have become concerned with climate tipping points. Tipping points are thought to have happened in the distant past – or potentially from greenhouse gases in the future. Large fluctuation followed by climate settling into states ranging from Snowball Earth to the Eocene Thermal Maximum. Both must have been disastrous. The latter was accompanied by anoxic oceans but the like hasn’t been seen since the break up of Gondwanaland. Much smaller – but significant climate tipping points – occurred 4 times in the last 100 years around 1910, the mid 1940’s, the mid 1970’s and 1998/2001 (Tsonis et al, 2007, Swanson et al 2009). The lack of global warming since 1998 is consistent with the climate behaving as a forced nonlinear oscillator. Small changes in forcings (solar, gases and aerosols, albedo) are alternately amplified and damped (nonlinear) by global climate processes and climate then oscillates for a time around a different (hopefully marginally over decades) climate state.
The direct impact of greenhouse gas increase since the start of industrialisation is about 0.5 degrees centigrade of global temperature increase theoretically. It is not insignificant as energy in the climate system. The total effect is unknown because it feeds into a dynamic climate system of sun, orbit, ocean, atmosphere, ice, clouds, gases and aerosols operating interactively. All of these change all the time. The exponential growth of ice cover is implicated as factor in ice ages – extreme nonlinear climate events. Global cloud cover has been known to change from ISCCP data collected from 1984 and the argument has been about cause and effect. There is a little more cloud cover since about 1999 – which came first the clouds or the current cooling? The question is meaningless and correlation is utterly useless as climate is dynamic and complex. Small changes in initial conditions lead to climate fluctuation which then settles into a different mean climate state that can be anything between very uncomfortable extremes for various lengths of time.
I say 4th generation nuclear engines and accelerated space technology is the answer. But that would require steady economic development and the global economy is itself a complex and dynamic system. The only way to high rates of global economic development is to have honesty and constancy in governance, continued economic growth and good luck. Not a social democratic supernanny state wildly spending money still and plotting to take over our lives and the world through the UN. He must be stopped!
At the policy level – it is a matter of social, economic and environmnetal risk. Continued global economic growth is critical for billions of people now and increasing greenhouse gases increases forced system instability – a balance of risk is required. It may be difficult to predict climate as states may realistically change seemingly randomly at decadal timescales. The instrumental temperature record shows increasing average atmospheric temperature rise since records began in the 1880’s at about 0.1 degrees centigrade per decade. The IPCC says the warming trend is 0.2 degrees centigrade per decade based on the temperature difference between 1976 to 1998 – a period which includes large ENSO events (climate tipping points) at either end. Determining the trend from 1979 to 1997 gives a far more justifiable estimate of warming in the last decades of the 20th century. One consequence of this is that existing deterministic models are ‘tuned’ to higher projections of temperature increase than would otherwise be the case. The lower risk boundary is very simply obtained by determining the trend of any of the intrumental global temperature datasets over a sufficiently long period (or marginally shorter) and rounding up. It is an outer envelop for climate risk in the coming decades. A few decades would be all that is required to develop dozens of low cost options for energy and development – a real market solution.
Robert Ellison says: “I am re-imagining climate for myself.”
The IPCC says the warming trend is 0.2 degrees centigrade per decade based on the temperature difference between 1976 to 1998.
Huh? Exact reference please?
The only place I see the IPCC refer to 0.2°/decade of *observed* warming is in the comparison with model projections for 1990-2005. The SPM highlights the 1906–2005 trend (0.74 ± 0.18° per century), the last 50 years (0.13 ± 0.03° per decade) and the total temperature increase from 1850–1899 to 2001–2005 (0.76° ± 0.19°). I don’t see 1976-1998 anywhere (and it wouldn’t yield 0.2°/decade anyway).
One consequence of this is that existing deterministic models are ‘tuned’ to higher projections of temperature increase than would otherwise be the case
Double huh? Projections are model outputs. Models are not tuned to projections. Nor are the physics-based models tuned to trends, as explained here:
” A bigger rise of 3-4C — the smallest increase we can prudently expect to follow inaction — would parch continents, turning farmland into desert.”
That is obviously garbage to anyone, there are plenty of places 3-4C warmer than where I am (UK) which are not parched deserts. Also what about the places currently 3-4C cooler than the UK?
They will be fertile farmlands won’t they.
Increasing the global average temperature by x in response to forcings will tend to involve a mix of feedbacks.
…Setting aside spatial-temporal variations in the external forcing itself (such variation is of greatest importance to orbital forcing, or else such forcing would have very small effect; but for less idiosyncratic forcing such as well-mixed GHGs and solar TSI changes, such variation is less important)…
Those feedbacks are not only important in shaping the global average response; they have spatial and temporal variations and cause regional, diurnal, and seasonal responses, etc. For example, the ice-albedo feedback has greatest effect where ice is lost or gained. Outside of the high latitudes, tropospheric warming causes a change in the moist-adiabitic lapse rate, which shapes the way temperature changes over height. The temperature changes are not uniform , and this affects atmospheric circulation patterns, and also involves a general increase in tropopause height. Any cloud cover feedbacks are likely heterogeneous as well. Latent heating amounts and locations shift. Precipitation and evaporation and water vapor transport shifts. Oceanic circulation will change. These things feed back on each other to determine the equilibrium climate state. A change in global average temperature will tend to involve some places getting dryer and some getting wetter, some changing temperature more and others less, some stormier and some less stormy. The relationship between precipitation and runoff can also change because of changes in the temporal distribution of precipitation.
And this affects societies and economies directly. It also affects ecosystems, which affect societies and economies, and the climate.
Big Jim Duggan says, “That is obviously garbage to anyone, there are plenty of places 3-4C warmer than where I am (UK) which are not parched deserts. Also what about the places currently 3-4C cooler than the UK?
They will be fertile farmlands won’t they.”
Ah, somebody didn’t take geography! Google “Hadley cells”. Also, consider: When the ice ages come along and carve mountains into valleys, what do you think happens to the topsoil? Canadian Shield, anyone? Canada’s loss was the gain of the American plains–at least until we pissed it away in the dustbowl…
Jim, common sense is a powerful force, but it works much, much better when it is based on accurate knowledge. Or as Mark Twain said, “It’s not what you don’t know that hurts you; it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations. The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful “deal” so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen.
China’s strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world’s poor once again….