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  1. I briefly discuss the false balance here:

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

    A few quotes:

    Boykoff & Boykoff (2004): “This supports the hypothesis that journalistic balance can often lead to a form of informational bias.”

    Boykoff (2008): “coverage of some areas of climate change is improving. For instance, attribution of climate change to human activity has received accurate coverage recently in a number of sources, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Times (London), The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Independent and The Guardian.” but “…an overall trend of inadequate coverage by the mass media persists.”

    Comment by Scott A. Mandia — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:02 PM

  2. Excellent post, thanks.

    Technical heads-up: The tan bar on the right side of this one post’s page has a different and much smaller typeface than all the other pages.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 PM

  3. This post is very reminiscent of the attitude of string theorists – no matter what is found at the LHC it will confirm string theory. No matter what revisions might be made to the historical temperature record, and irrespective of actual temperatures going forward for decades to come, any set of facts will confirm the CO2 warming hypothesis and desired forcing sensitivities required to affect policy outcomes. It just doesn’t pass the smell test of a falsifiable science – probably because it isn’t.

    Comment by Mesa — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  4. A quick question on the subject of surface temperatures: As seen [here](http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/offset:-0.15/mean:12/plot/gistemp/from:1979/offset:-0.24/mean:12/plot/uah/mean:12/plot/rss/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/offset:-0.15/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1979/offset:-0.24/trend/plot/uah/trend/plot/rss/trend), can someone explain why the satellite temperature record has more extreme results the surface temperature record? Like, each sat. temp. high is higher than the surface temperature highs, and each low is lower than the surface temp. lows.

    Comment by Llama Cheese — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  5. Shouldn’t this post be “Who ya gonna call 2″?
    The paragraph about why radical changes to surface temperatures to surface temperatures contains no links and, in particular, I would like to figure out what is meant by the second point regarding boreholes. Thanks.

    Comment by Steve L — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:13 PM

  6. Which claims made by Jim Hansen do you consider extraordinary, and that he has not yet provided enough evidence to prove?

    [Response: No idea. I've never reviewed one of his papers, and nor has anyone else at RealClimate, as far as I can tell. Same goes for John Christy.
    Makes you wonder who the "gatekeepers" Judy Curry talks about are, doesn't it?--eric]

    Comment by David Weisman — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:27 PM

  7. RPjr: “The surface temps matter because they are a key basis for estimates of climate sensitivity in the models used to make projections.”

    Hmmmm.

    Careful Eric, Roger will add you to his list of lying RealClimate “science politicizers”. Just do science, don’t speak up about it. Remember, political scientists can expound on climate science (without even getting the facts right!), but climate scientists should never “pathologize” science by “politicizing” (i.e. talking about) it.

    [Response: Lil'Roger is engaged in a deligitimizing exercise which is designed to leave him as the only credible voice on climate science. The idea that we are the cause of the politicisation of climate science, or that answering questions about the science when it is misrepresented is making things worse, is ludicrous. He can only make those arguments by misrepresenting statements by us and others (hence the recent spate of baseless accusations of dishonesty, theft, plagirism and the like). By attempting to elbow out other mainstream voices he aims to be the middle-of-the-road academic that is supposed to be the voice of sense. This strategy is however very transparent, and judging from the commentaters on his blog, is only convincing to the denialist fringe. He is welcome to them. -gavin]

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:35 PM

  8. Gordon McBean from the University of Western Ontario, and has served the Canadian Parliament, mentioned at WCC-3 in Geneva, that if you want to represent the reality of the understanding, even at 90% certainty, you would need to have 9 scientists that understand it and one that doesn’t to have a reasonably fair interview.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  9. Sorry to instantly hijack your thread with a somewhat off topic question… but in a way it’s on topic, because it’s a science question, and I’d like it answered by a, well, umm, a scientist.

    I was lying awake last night worrying that forty years from now I would be gone, having left my daughter in quite a lurch with a dangerously unbalanced planet and me nowhere to be found to help her. I rather fear that the life skills that I’m teaching her now, as a parent, are intended to help her in this world and civilization as it exists now, and so I may be failing her (as a parent) because I don’t know what she may have to deal with in the future.

    Four more detailed thoughts bothered me, with the accompanying anxiety that things could turn out far worse than they seem but over too long of a time scale to motivate people (face it, many people simply don’t want to believe, and so many won’t believe until it is undeniable and probably too late).

    1) In the current computer models, is the increase in adiabatic lapse rate due to CO2 applied homogeneously across the globe and throughout the depth of the atmosphere, or are hot spots (land masses, temperate zones in summer, etc.) taken into account so that the lapse rate, and hence the incremental effect of H2O as a GHG, varies as well across the globe? Or is this not necessary because the movement and speed of mixing of the atmosphere eliminates this as a meaningful factor?

    2) Is there a time lag in the increase in water vapor in the atmosphere due to a gradual change in local or global temperature? That is, how long does it take sections of atmosphere that have warmed to increase in humidity to the point where the incremental effect of H2O as an incremental GHG effect is actually felt?

    3) Are deep ocean currents also taken into account, from the POV that some of today’s warming is being “sequestered” in the deep ocean as time goes on (that water being replace by cooler, 50 year old water upwelling in various spots), and that in time those now warmer bodies of water will resurface, warmer than what is upwelling today, and so allowing the full effect of AGW to be felt? Stated another way, is the “global conveyor belt” acting as a decades long temporary air conditioner, and if so, do the models currently account for this effect?

    4) Is the energy transfer of total global incremental ice melt (i.e. X more this year than usual) factored in and of a size so as to be relevant in contribution, given that such energy is “lost” in the phase change of water, and so is not entirely evidenced as a temperature increase… and in fact, the addition of melt water to the ocean or land surface (for glaciers) would by itself have an apparent cooling effect, even though the actual energy change of the planet is very positive?

    My questions come primarily from the concern that a rather random and slow transition from 1C warming due to CO2 to 4C warming due to CO2 + H2O, as well as ocean impact side effects, would be “masking” the full severity of GHG effects for many, many decades, simply because it will take a considerable amount of time to reach (a warmer) equilibrium. Or, more to the point, could it be that the overall warming process could be even slower than anticipated (which will aid denier arguments until it is too late to have a relevant impact on the process)?

    Thanks much for your time if you choose to answer these questions. You guys must be agonizingly busy these days. Sleep much?

    Comment by Bob — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:41 PM

  10. “The problem of ‘false balance’ in reporting — the distortions that can result from trying give equal time to the two perceived sides of an issue — is well known.”

    I agree with that. But the problem also goes further than this. In the mainstream media, we all know that the time to speak is very brief. It is because of this, that the side which has the detailed, rational and sound explanation *will* be disadvantaged most of the time (in the “apparent convincingness” to the lay public). That side of course, is mostly the scientific side.

    Much easier to say: “Everything is a hoax” or to reiterate the same crocks (“It’s cooling!”, “It’s just natural”, “It’s just the sun!” etc. ad inf.) than it is to give a detailed explanation (i.e. well constructed arguments, presenting evidence, taking away misunderstanding etc.) In this way, the sound and scientific side really is disadvantaged with respect to cheap rhetoric, large words and big claims, demagogy and so on.

    This is, of course, mainly related to tv and radio.

    Comment by BartH — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:46 PM

  11. Gavin, I think you’re either confusing or conflating two typical mistakes of the media. As a ‘lukewarmer’ I could easily say that because I’m attacked by both sides I must be in the correct and moderate middle. But it’s just as possible that I get attacked by both sides because I’m wrong. Balance in journalism is great, but not a cover. The fact that papers from the far ends of the spectrum are not being published is not a healthy sign–it’s a sign that editors of journals are trying to stay in the safe middle. Far better to publish and be the first commenter. The other mistake is outright advocacy of a position–and that’s not even a mistake, as long as it’s clearly labeled and accompanied by acknowledgement of opposing positions.

    I don’t think that science needs to work that way–you all have your own rules and it seems to work over the long haul. But communications with non-scientists need to go by different rules. And I think it is now clear that journals that are accessible to the wider public need to be cognizant of their potentially much wider audience.

    Comment by Tom Fuller — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:46 PM

  12. Well stated Eric. I was fortunate enough to combine my ecology degree with a degree in journalism and it seems today’s journalists have forgotten a basic rule of journalism.
    It was probably best stated by one of my journalism professors. He said, “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.”
    So, in an effort to create a sense of balance (and/or to sensationalize and sell newspapers etc) they have forgotten to “check it out”.

    Comment by wildlifer — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  13. Eric:

    You protest too much.

    Andy’s putting a question to Roger Jr. is not unreasonable. Your right that Roger seems to try to present himself as ‘the guru in the middle’. But he isn’t completely ignorant of the science. And Andy does use his “very good Rolodex” to query others as well.

    Readers can’t help but noticing that Roger’s bias to maintain his image as THE ‘Honest Broker’, leads him too often to avoid admitting (as he occasionally nonetheless does!) that AGW is a serious problem that needs attention.

    Comment by Leonard Ornstein — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:56 PM

  14. Eric, I think it is also interesting to point out the ‘centrist’ lean many take in their rhetoric. Politics as usual. I wrote a piece in 2006 about the stealing form the middle that seems to result in the hijacking of reason.

    http://www.uscentrist.org/news/2006/yellow-stripes-armadillos

    Politics as usual to sell an agenda…

    Somehow reporters need to learn that context is more important than answers, but then we run into the problem of them not understanding context sufficiently, which easily allows for the answer given to not lead to the relevant questions in response to the answers the would get from those such as Roger Pielke, Jr.

    I have been offering my services in the area of climate communications, but there is not enough interest yet. I wonder if reporters are afraid to say to their editors that they don’t know enough to glean the truth out of answers in interviews or, in some cases, they might be feeding off of the controversy to increase the noise and debate? One might think that getting to the truth of the matter is important? If they did understand the contexts, this debate would be over rather quickly.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/services

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 Dec 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  15. A monster I’m afraid is being created and unleashed by the hydrocarbon industry while defending their empire is that of collateral damage to the reputation of and public willingness to enjoy benefits from -all- fields of scientific inquiry. The degenerate effects of industrial-scale deceit will infect public estimation of scientific inquiry in general.

    Strategic and tactical deception techniques pioneered by the tobacco industry** have been vastly sharpened and “improved” in the battle to keep money flowing to hydrocarbon interests. We can be certain that these same techniques will be employed in other, lesser struggles between reality and avarice and their mutual outcomes in public policy, leading to further confusion on the part of the public.

    ** But let’s not fail to give credit to the Ethyl Corporation, who succeeded in defending tetraethyl lead as an additive to gasoline for decades after the wisdom of spewing this remarkably effective neurotoxin from tailpipes worldwide was called into question. Ethyl should be given due recognition for their early efforts in mass bamboozlement.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Dec 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  16. Having attacked CRU for political reasons, they are still attacking NASA:
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/dec/03/researcher-says-nasa-hiding-climate-data/
    The aim will be to cast doubt on every temperature record, and use that to delay any action.

    Comment by guthrie — 5 Dec 2009 @ 1:10 PM

  17. Take the BBC. The receive money from the government and in return have to stick to certain standards.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/edguide/

    Are their guidelines.

    In particular.

    * we seek to provide a properly balanced service consisting of a wide range of subject matter and views broadcast over an appropriate time scale across all our output. We take particular care when dealing with political or industrial controversy or major matters relating to current public policy.
    * we strive to reflect a wide range of opinion and explore a range and conflict of views so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or under represented.
    * we exercise our editorial freedom to produce content about any subject, at any point on the spectrum of debate as long as there are good editorial reasons for doing so.
    * we can explore or report on a specific aspect of an issue or provide an opportunity for a single view to be expressed, but in doing so we do not misrepresent opposing views. They may also require a right of reply.
    * we must ensure we avoid bias or an imbalance of views on controversial subjects.
    * the approach to, and tone of, BBC stories must always reflect our editorial values. Presenters, reporters and correspondents are the public face and voice of the BBC, they can have a significant impact on the perceptions of our impartiality.
    * our journalists and presenters, including those in news and current affairs, may provide professional judgments but may not express personal opinions on matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy. Our audiences should not be able to tell from BBC programmes or other BBC output the personal views of our journalists and presenters on such matters.
    * we offer artists, writers and entertainers scope for individual expression in drama, arts and entertainment and we seek to reflect a wide range of talent and perspective.
    * we will sometimes need to report on or interview people whose views may cause serious offence to many in our audiences. We must be convinced, after appropriate referral, that a clear public interest outweighs the possible offence.
    * we must rigorously test contributors expressing contentious views during an interview whilst giving them a fair chance to set out their full response to our questions.
    * we should not automatically assume that academics and journalists from other organisations are impartial and make it clear to our audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint.

    However, when it comes to the climate change controversy, the BBC does not adher to these standards and deliberately does so.

    Comment by Nick — 5 Dec 2009 @ 1:17 PM

  18. “You have a very good Rolodex. If you want to ask somebody a technical question about climate science … please use it.”

    Nice! I expect a lot from Revkin, but his journalism has become pretty lazy. I pointed out on his blog that he seems to be relying too heavily on the Pielkes, perhaps because he falsely believes their self-described “honest broker” label, and that there are thousands of climate scientists he could contact who are perhaps less attention-seeking but very knowledgeable. Prall’s list is a good starting point.

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

    In the comments section of another post, an individual claimed that the stolen email from Wigley regarding the 1940′s SST bias issue shows Wigley was attempting to fraudulently adjust data. Revkin awarded him an “Editor’s Selection”. Way to discourage conspiracy nuts, Andy. I then pointed out where he was wrong and referenced the first RC post on the CRU hack (it’s also directly noted in the 2nd post), indicating the email context, and Andy responded by asking where in the long list of comments is it addressed. I suppose most journalists would have ignored my comment, but this still clearly indicates that he hadn’t bothered to read the critical responses from those most familiar with the discussions. This is lazy. Mainstream media types are often like this but I expect more from Revkin.

    I also pointed out the Knutti/Hergel review on Revkin’s blog in response to Pielke’s statement. Here is the article for those who don’t have a Nature subscription.

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

    Comment by MarkB — 5 Dec 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  19. “A case in point is Andrew Revkin’s recent query to political scientist Roger Pielke….
    As a colleague recently wrote independently to Revkin, “You have a very good Rolodex. If you want to ask somebody a technical question about climate science … please use it.”

    Roger Pielke Jr is a professor of environmental studies and has been a staff scientist in the field of atmospheric research. Although it is his PhD, calling him a political scientist seems to me to minimize his expertise in climate science issues.
    Is it your intent to suggest that Pielke Jr does not have sufficient expertise in the field of climate science?

    [Response: My intent is to suggest that Pielke has demonstrated that a) he is not independent and b) is wrong. My description of him as 'political scientist' is from him, not me.--eric]

    Comment by Don Shor — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:18 PM

  20. So changes to the surface temperature record would have no impact on projections of the future. Can you see why it appears to people like me that the whole theory of catastrophic climate change is not falsifiable? What WOULD it take to force a revision of the theory?

    [Response:I didn't say that. I said plausible changes -- given that we already know that the surface temperature record doesn't depend at all on CRU -- plus completely independent evidence. What would force a revision to the theory? Discovery of a strong negative feedback; yet to be found.--eric]

    Comment by Annabelle — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:22 PM

  21. I think Revkin does OK. I remember the one time when Mike Mann gave one of his equivocating self-defenses to say that Revkin had quoted him out of context. So Revkin showed up here and gave the whole email…and Mike was wrong!

    [Response: My recollection of this is different than yours, on all counts. However, my intention here is not to argue about whether Revkin is a good reporter. In general, I think he is, and not just when I agree with him.--eric]

    Comment by TCO — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:24 PM

  22. I can understand your objection to the first part of the Richard Harris article, where an extreme interpretation of the e-mails (eg. “bare-knuckle tactics to defend the orthodoxy of global warming”) is presented as fact, and Gavin is then presented as agreeing with that and saying the behavior is justified. But after that, I think the article is reasonably well balanced, at least by journalist standards. In particular, I agree with Judith Curry’s view that some scientists gone too far in the direction of “tribal” behavior, and this needs to be acknowledged. That will be difficult to do in the extremely partisan climate being whipped up by most of the media.

    I find it interesting that Eric states that James Hansen has not “provided sufficient evidence for extraordinary claims.” Has Hansen gone off the deep end, like James Lovelock and Peter Ward? It is curious how Peter Ward’s book “Under a Green Sky” never gets mentioned here, and when Ward himself posed some questions here he was studiously ignored. Could that be because he “credited” Eric in the text with reviewing some of the worst writing on climate change I have seen? I also wonder if David Battisti appreciates being quoted as saying that all of Antarctica is going to melt. I don’t see that getting into a peer reviewed journal. Maybe there is a similarity between loose talk over a few beers, and a supposedly private e-mail exchange.

    Well, global warming is certainly back in the public perception, although with an unprecedented and almost uniform negative spin even in the most liberal media. Maybe, as Eric requests, there will eventually be a chance for actual scientists to talk about real issues instead of overblown scandal.

    [Response: I'm not suggesting that Hansen, or Christy, or anyone else is "off the deep end". For all I know, they are all right. My point is that it doesn't follow, from their alleged difficulty in getting things published, that the peer review process is "distorted" the way that Harris says it is.--eric]

    Comment by Blair Dowden — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:25 PM

  23. So what you are saying is that even though the data has been corrupted, and temperatures may well be adjusted downward, it has no bearing on the trend upwards? Should we just take your word on that, or should it be noted that models are only as good as the code that runs them and the data they are being fed?

    [Response: I didn't say what you think I said, and I don't even agree with your inference based on what you think I said. Try reading the article again, slowly, think for more than a few seconds, and ask your question again.--eric]

    Comment by DB — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:31 PM

  24. I think this question of who journalists talk to can actually be quantified to look for unwarranted bias. Suppose you have a particular question that is the subject of some claimed controversy (like, is human-caused global warming something to be concerned about). Suppose you have an objective list of experts on the subject (like Tim Prall’s most-cited authors on climate change: http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/). Now take some time-period of media coverage. What fraction of those experts on one side of the issue were quoted, and what fraction of those on the other side? If only 1 in 1000 top experts with one answer on the question were consulted, while 3 in 10 on the other side were consulted, then you have a quantitative bias ratio of 300:1 for the contrarian position. You might want to weight in some way by relative rank of the consulted experts, as well.

    So, somebody run the numbers, how are our media doing on climate?

    Comment by Arthur Smith — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:43 PM

  25. Hi Eric-

    The question Andy posed to me was not a question about climate science but a question about the social construction of science — he asked me a “thought experiment” about what would happen if the temperature record were to change, would that “would that erode confidence in the keystone climate question”?

    My statement on climate sensitivity is thus not at all different than your own: “radical changes to the long term trend in the surface temperature record would require re-evaluation of our understanding of climate sensitivity” — which is of course why this topic is a political battle ground.

    Your colleague Ray seemed to get this no problem:
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/a-climate-science-forecast-in-the-wake-of-climate-files/#comment3

    Your comments here and mine there at not at all in contradiction.

    [Response: I disagree with you, and so do the several other folks (including several non-RC scientists, as well as Ray Pierrehumbert) I've talked with. The surface temperature record is not a 'key basis for estimates of climate sensitivity" as you wrote, and nor would changes to the climate sensitivity inferred from changes to the surface temperature records propagate into future projections, as you also wrote.--eric]

    Comment by Roger Pielke, Jr. — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:52 PM

  26. For Pielke to think, or Revkin to even ask, that the recent temperature curve can shift much, is hard to fathom. As noted above the JMA provides another measure of global temperature change. For September note the analysis. They note Sept. as the warmest globally, NOAA lists it as the second warmest.
    JMA
    NOAA

    Comment by mauri pelto — 5 Dec 2009 @ 2:53 PM

  27. Thanks for the analysis of Pielke Jr.’s thoughts- I commented on DE that he was an odd person to choose to address any scientific issue. Major American newspapers and TV networks are pretty much hopeless. Never mind Revkin- have you ever read John Tierney’s “Science” column in the New York Times?

    I also don’t believe that this journalistic instinct toward balance and conflict drives the way their stories are framed. It comes from the top. Media ownership is concentrated, and many interlocking directorships and common financing sources with fossil fuel companies dictate this phony “balance”. The Seattle PI is very rare in this respect.

    The internet and blogs are great, but limited. A serious media campaign- to include cable television and feature films- is called for. The hour is getting late.

    Comment by mike roddy — 5 Dec 2009 @ 3:06 PM

  28. if you assume a precautionary principle is justified in light of the present knowledge, why are thousands of people travelling to Copenhagen adding to the carbon emissions. Why not use webex/tcon to hold a true carbon- neutral meeting ? Set an Example !

    Comment by Bill — 5 Dec 2009 @ 3:15 PM

  29. But, but, but… RP Jr. can be relied on to produce something controversial-sounding on deadline, and Andy’s trying to keep this story alive! Perhaps there’s some part of journalism you’re unclear on? /snark :(

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 5 Dec 2009 @ 3:22 PM

  30. Agree that truth trumps balance. And transparency in methods are a key cornerstone of finding truths. My greatest frustration here in the peanut gallery is how rarely I see simple disagreements (e.g. Tiljander usage) defined in a way that can be arbitrated effectively by a disinterested party.

    Comment by Joe Hunkins — 5 Dec 2009 @ 3:41 PM

  31. Much of this nonsense comes from the deceptive “honest broker” concept that Roger Pielke Jr. has established. Of course it fits right in with the “fair and balanced” framework that journalists prefer (aka let’s watch you and him fight) to figuring out if there really is any balance.

    The naive concept of “honest broker” has pushed discussion into a fruitless direction. As with many such things, reality shows how hollow this is.

    Brokers do not expand the scope of choices available to clients, they narrow them. You want limitless choices, google. Ethical and expert brokers have mutual obligations to sellers and buyers, not to sell every piece of nuclear waste to every rube with a cell phone. Where the client insists on committing financial suicide the ethical broker is obligated to tell the buyer to take the business elsewhere.

    Pielke’s “honest broker” would spend as much time telling a policy maker about the incoherent cacophony that denialists throw up putting on an equal basis the weird and wrong second law arguments of Gerlich and Tscheuschner . (there appears to be a revival of interest in that strangeness, anyone know why), cosmic rays, mysterious 1500 year cycles or Lindzen and Choi’s GRL arguments based on cherry picking models and more.

    It is precisely this demand that scientists talking to policy makers deny their understanding that makes the “honest broker” concept dangerous. Worse, should a scientist such as the CRU folks or Hansen, or Spencer express an expert opinion they are to be labeled partisans. (IEHO, Lindzen has long ago shed any responsiblity, YMMV)

    In other words, brokers and scientists are experts, and to expect them to tell you that wrong is right is just the sort of thing that those shopping for fantasy favor.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 5 Dec 2009 @ 4:07 PM

  32. My greatest frustration here in the peanut gallery is how rarely I see simple disagreements (e.g. Tiljander usage) defined in a way that can be arbitrated effectively by a disinterested party.

    Why not do what Mann did – leave Tiljander out and get almost exactly the same result?

    End of discussion.

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Dec 2009 @ 4:10 PM

  33. I have thought for a long time that part of the problem in convincing people of climate change is the idea of balance. The BBC, which, I believe, is slightly more indpeendent than some other media, still feels a need for ‘balance’, which often equates to giving equl times to both points of view. This of course generates a good debate, which get’s people’s interest, and is good for ratings. I suspect that it is a human tendency to then see the two points as equal, or nearly equal, unless people are bothered to study the topic. The other problem is that lack of understanding of scientific method, so people can think 90% certain still leaves a lot of room for doubt. I bet if the weather forcast showed a 90% certainty of rain most people would take an umbrella!
    Many people also seem to believe that any ‘scientist’ or someone linked in some way to science must be an ‘expert’.In the UK I have seen Professor David Bellamy quoted as an expert on climate change because he’s a professor and a scientist (botanist)!

    Comment by Louise D — 5 Dec 2009 @ 4:13 PM

  34. Anybody want to bet how long before the MSM start quoting denialdepot?

    Comment by Molnar — 5 Dec 2009 @ 4:19 PM

  35. ” in the unlikely event of any changes to the surface temperature record, it will have no impact on projections of the future.”

    Has anyone shown how recent (say last 100 years)variability in surface temperatures would look if it were to be compressed into the proxy records (tree rings, corals etc?)? It seems to me that this should be done before instrumental data is plugged into “fix” proxy records.

    Comment by PT101 — 5 Dec 2009 @ 4:27 PM

  36. Hi Eric-

    Again, Revkin did not ask me if it was plausible that the temperature record would shift much, he simply assumed it in the question and I assumed it in the answer. It would be a little like me asking you, assume a major volcanic eruption occurred in 2010, what would be the climate consequences?

    One response might be: “hmmm that is an interesting thought experiment. What might the answer be?”

    Another might be “Eric is not a vulcanologist, why ask him this? Besides the chances of a big volcanic eruption are really small.”

    Your post is quite a bit like the second response.

    Again, I said nothing more than you said yourself: “radical changes to the long term trend in the surface temperature record would require re-evaluation of our understanding of climate sensitivity”.

    Are radical changes possible? Don’t ask me, I’m a political scientist;-) But in any case you should be heartened by my answers, which explained that even if this occurred, it does not much change the science or policy equation — from the perspective of the social construction of science — which I take it is just about where you come out asking a different question about plausibility. So it appears we are in violent agreement from very different perspectives.

    [Response: The right response to your hypothetical would be, "First, let me be very clear that a major eruption in any given year is very unlikely...." and then to answer the question.

    Furthermore, to repeat this once more, as clearly as I can: *What you said* was mostly wrong, *even* in response to a hypothetical "really big change." What you said about how climate sensitivity is estimated was wrong, and what you said about how estimates of climate sensivity wind up in projections of the future was wrong. And overall, what you said was grossly misleading because it strongly implies (since you did not bother to give the caveat at the beginning, analogous to the caveat about the volcano) that big changes to our estimates of climate sensitivity might well come from an actual fresh and independent look at the surface temperature records. While *technically* accurate (anything is *possible*), that is a very misleading statement. And it is very very misleading to suggest that that would translate directly into changed projections. And that supports the view that questions raised by the CRU emails cast doubt on future projections, which is very very very misleading. One more 'very' and I think it simply becomes 'dishonest'.

    But, that's all water under the bridge I suppose because you now say you agree with me that if Revkin had asked a better question, such as "Is it at all likely that any of this matters to future projections?" you would have answered "No, it is not at all likely." Right?--eric]

    Comment by Roger Pielke, Jr. — 5 Dec 2009 @ 4:51 PM

  37. Mauri at #13:

    BOM Australia’s November summary is out. The hottest November on record, by nearly 2°C. That’s after our hottest ever August, by a similar margin. Both about 4-sigma events, on my crude estimate.

    But it’s not real; all just some grand conspiracy, foisted from the old dart by that infamous Harry guy.

    Comment by GlenFergus — 5 Dec 2009 @ 4:56 PM

  38. Arthur Smith 5 December 2009 at 2:43 PM:

    That’s a really nice analysis; I’d never thought of it quite that way before.

    I suppose the trouble is that when the consensus is as lopsided as is AGW, it’s effectively impossible to shift that ratio to something more reasonable without entirely ignoring the “other side”, vanishingly small as it is.

    Which leads to the question: When exactly do we reach the point where contrarians are thrown in the same bucket as diehard adherents of the Ptolemaic system, etc.? (Perhaps lumping ‘em in with Ptolemy is a bit harsh, maybe Earth shrinkage as the underpinnings of orogeny is a better analogy?)

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Dec 2009 @ 5:15 PM

  39. Although every scientist has a right to participate in the political process of deciding what to do about AGW, reporters should try to get their SCIENTIFIC information from climate scientists who generally aren’t active in the political process. Distortion, one-sided presentations, suppression of information and character assassination are accepted tactics in politics, in the courtroom, and in blogs (such as this one; see comment about Pielke), but they are not acceptable in science. Steven Schneider has written about the dilemma confronting scientists who want to make the world better through science. (stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/APS.pdf). Climategate suggests (to me, at least) that some politically active climate scientists may have been corrupted by the political process and have not dealt appropriately with the dilemma Schneider describes.

    When discussing political or legal issues, reporters are forced to deal with the accepted distortions describe above by soliciting the views of one proponent from each side of an issue. As you explain, this doesn’t work well in science. Therefore they should seek out politically uninvolved scientists who feel obligated to accurately discuss science according to scientific, not political, ethics.

    I would hope that ALL of the lead authors of the next IPCC report would be chosen from scientists who not been vocal advocates or opponents of climate change legislation or been involved in climategate. Like all other scientists, political activists can participate in peer review of this report through the normal transparent process. I would also hope that the political leaders of the IPCC would decide to increase the scientific credibility of IPCC reviews by forgoing their right to edit the work of scientists and especially the Summary for Policymakers. Finally I would hope that those Summaries explain and use the normal, precise scientific terms for expressing scientific uncertainty.

    Comment by Frank — 5 Dec 2009 @ 5:18 PM

  40. What the IPCC should do is issue a chapter or a whole book that deals specifically with denier claims point-by-point-by-point. Make it thorough and crushing. It should also include detailed information on the connections of these goons to the energy industry.

    Include diagrams and photos of the already visible signs of warming, something like Gavin’s book on picturing climate change. Let people see the before and after of the poles and glaciers. Have info on the change in the arrival of spring, migrations etc. Get the acknowledgement of the energy industry that climate change is real. Show the certainties and uncertainties tht remain. Then get it in Barnes, Borders and Amazon.

    I mean it’s already been done with creationism. Why not the anti-climate science phonys?

    Comment by Ron R. — 5 Dec 2009 @ 5:24 PM

  41. “Balanced” does not mean “unbiased”. A good example of this is The Economist’s reporting on Robert Mugabe, the dictator of Zimbabwe. They clearly state “we hate the guy”, but before ripping him to shreds, they do a “good-faith” effort to represent Mugabe’s point of view. The Economist does that a lot with other stories: start a story where they do an excellent job argument FOR something before they then rip the idea to shreds.

    The opposite also happens. Both left-wing MSNBC and right-wing FoxNews use the trick of having two people on to talk about climate: a sane person to talk about one side, and an fringe person to debate the opposing side (and to discredit his own side).

    We rarely see the actual climate debate in the press. From Lindzen to McIntyre, everyone agrees on the “settled” bits of the science, that mankind has cause more CO2, and that CO2 is a major greenhouse gas, and that the last part of the 20th century had rapid warming. Yet, whenever I see a “balanced” discussion of climate in the press, they prop up fringe people that disagree with this settled science.

    I know of nobody who has heard of the term “sensitivity”. The debate isn’t whether or not manmade warming happens, but the degree the climate is sensitive to the mandmade warming. An ethical, “balanced”, reporting would have two climatologists on to argue why they have different views on “sensitivity”. This could be Linzden vs. Gavin, but it could also be Gavin vs. Mann.

    Comment by Robert David Graham — 5 Dec 2009 @ 5:33 PM

  42. Robert David Graham (26) — The question of the correct estimate for Charney equilbrium climate sensitivity (CECS) has been trashed out several times in the peer-reviewed literature. The most recent I know about was showing why Schwartz was wrong, by a combination of paleodata and climate models. For example, see the paper by Knutti et al. (on his website) which uses a climate model to show that there is not just a sinlge characteristic time scale for slimate response to a pertubation; there is more discussion on James Anna’s blog, where I thik he discusses his (and co-authors) reply to Schwartz’s mistake.

    Since then there have been two or three papers which purport to find a very small CECS. I tried, in my amateur way, to show why a paper by Shaviv was wrong, using Tung & Cabin (2008) for support; AFAIK thre has been no formally published refutation. The other two are obviously wrong (even to me) simply based on the paleoclimate data; AFAIK so far there is no formally published rebuttal of either.

    So the “debates” you propose don’t seem to hold any interest whatsoever. The value of about 3 K for CECS has been around since at least the 1979 Charney et al. NAS/NRC report:
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12181&page=1
    and 30 years of further research has done nothing to change this (approximate) value.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 5 Dec 2009 @ 5:58 PM

  43. Eric-

    Re: your reply at:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/who-you-gonna-call/comment-page-1/#comment-147312

    You say: “The right response to your hypothetical would be, “First, let me be very clear that a major eruption in any given year is very unlikely….” and then to answer the question.”

    You and I have already both agreed that I am unqualified to render an expert opinion on such a question ;-)

    You ask:

    “if Revkin had asked a better question, such as “Is it at all likely that any of this matters to future projections?” you would have answered “No, it is not at all likely.” Right?”

    No, of course not. Revkin all but certainly wouldn’t have asked me this, since I am not an expert on this topic. However, had he asked such a question (and journalists in fact sometimes do ask me such questions) I would have relied that I’m the wrong person to ask, and pointed him to people with expertise such as yours (as I often do). Revkin’s “thought experiment” question about the social construction of knowledge is a very reasonable question for him to ask me and for me to answer, even as there are many other important questions, such as those raised in your post.

    And I agree that this is all “water under the bridge” as we are talking about different things.

    [Response: Great, I am glad we are in full agreement that any reader who though Revkin was asking you about *actual* data errors and *actual* climate projections would have been misled by your answers. I'm in no way accusing you of being deliberately misleading. I'm just trying to get some clarity on this.--eric]

    Comment by Roger Pielke, Jr. — 5 Dec 2009 @ 6:29 PM

  44. “This post is very reminiscent of the attitude of string theorists – no matter what is found at the LHC it will confirm string theory.”

    Where do you get stuff like this? The LHC is not designed to settle questions about the validity of string theory. It is to settle questions about the standard model and perhaps go a bit beyond. The most publicized hope is that they will find the Higgs particle which is supposed to `explain’ where mass comes from. But if they don’t find it, it won’t mean the whole standard model will collapse. It has already been verified by lots of other data. Physicists are on strong ground if they say that the LHC is unlikely to show that current theory is basically wrong. Rather than giving up on the standard model, they will conclude they just haven’t reached sufficiently high energy levels, something they already knew about the LHC.

    The questions in climate science are of a different nature, but the above artilce makes a similar point. You have to look at all the other evidence you have, and you don’t start over again from scratch with each new observation. The real world imposes certain constraints on what is possible. It is not enough to call into question the accuracy of the surface temperature record. You have to explain why everything else is wrong also.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 5 Dec 2009 @ 6:49 PM

  45. Re #40:
    Great idea but the IPCC is not the right kind of author. You want someone like Dawkins, who has just done it for evolution. Okay, then … someone with great scientific credentials in the field and excellent popular-science-writing skills. Nominate someone who’s not too busy actually working and/or blogging, and introduce him/her to a publisher.
    Actually, I believe Dawkins did a lot of his writing while occupying a philanthropically-funded ‘Chair for the Public Communication of Science’ or some such name. That also could be a model worth pursuing.
    While I’m writing: can someone please explain why climate scientists are not supposed to enter into any policy debates, when it is absolutely standard practice for medical scientists to do just that?

    Comment by MalcolmT — 5 Dec 2009 @ 6:50 PM

  46. An honest broker helps people ask useful questions, and find accurate answers, not provide them with opinions; an honest broker helps people avoid wasting time on questions based on mistaken ideas about what’s possible.

    Having failed that, blamed Revkin for asking a poor question, now what?

    “… if Revkin had asked a better question, such as “Is it at all likely that any of this matters to future projections?” you would have answered “No, it is not at all likely.” Right?”

    I don’t recall ever seeing a journalist writing a piece saying “I asked a bad question, and got a misleading answer that spun me around; if I’d asked a better question, the right answer would be ….”

    Journalists must study how to cope with this, it’s hardly unusual for a journalist to ask a sloppy question, and get a misleading answer.

    The Catholics call it the ‘sin of omission’ — and as far as I know, they’re the only religion that calls it a sin rather than clever to mislead by omitting information required to make the information given accurate.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Dec 2009 @ 6:54 PM

  47. Tom Fuller says:
    5 December 2009 at 12:46 PM

    Gavin, I think you’re either confusing or conflating two typical mistakes of the media. As a ‘lukewarmer’ I could easily say that because I’m attacked by both sides I must be in the correct and moderate middle. But it’s just as possible that I get attacked by both sides because I’m wrong. Balance in journalism is great, but not a cover. The fact that papers from the far ends of the spectrum are not being published is not a healthy sign…

    Tom, false equivalencies are false because one side has less legitimacy than the other. That is what it means to have FALSE equivalence. You are committing the same mistake that he was addressing. Given I know of not one paper that undermines any given aspect of climate change, particularly the core science, ZERO commentators from the anti-AGW side would be the correct balance.

    Get it?

    Let me say it another way. If 1000 out of 1000 papers support any anti-AGW science, then the repersentation should be the same to be fair. If 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 percent is denial, and this is not supported scientifically, it is false equivalence.

    What we see in the media should reflect what we know to be true. Where there is uncertainty, let that be clearly represented. There is no uncertainty with the fundamentals of climate change.

    OK?

    BTW, who said any legit papers aren’t getting published? Nobody.

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Dec 2009 @ 7:05 PM

  48. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:
    5 December 2009 at 4:51 PM

    Hi Eric-

    Again, Revkin did not ask me if it was plausible that the temperature record would shift much, he simply assumed it in the question and I assumed it in the answer. It would be a little like me asking you, assume a major volcanic eruption occurred in 2010, what would be the climate consequences?

    One response might be: “hmmm that is an interesting thought experiment. What might the answer be?”

    Another might be “Eric is not a vulcanologist, why ask him this? Besides the chances of a big volcanic eruption are really small.”

    Your post is quite a bit like the second response.

    Again, I said nothing more than you said yourself: “radical changes to the long term trend in the surface temperature record would require re-evaluation of our understanding of climate sensitivity”.

    Are radical changes possible? Don’t ask me, I’m a political scientist;-)

    Pielke, this is intellectually dishonest. From the Urban Dictionary:

    Intellectual dishonesty

    An argument which is misused to advance an agenda or to reinforce one’s deeply held beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence contrary.

    You are pretending the context of the question wasn’t the recent, and bogus, e-mail uproar – itself an exercise in intellectual dishonesty. Within that context, and knowing what the true framing of the question was, it was dishonest of you to say anything without a qualifying statement. There should be two parts to this. The first, *you* should always state before speaking on climate science: “I do not study climate science, so your question might be better addressed to _____, but….”

    The second would be something like, “Let me first say that the entire temp record being found to be wrong is ludicrous. However, I realize you are asking this in the context of the recent trumped up e-mail drama and answer with that in mind. Yes, IF in some alternate reality the temp record were found to have serious errors…”

    That you were content to add to the false equivalence that is part of leading to inaction or insufficient action on climate speaks volumes.

    My momma told me long ago that one’s actions speak louder than one’s words. You have offered a perfect example of why I give greater weight to actions.

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Dec 2009 @ 7:32 PM

  49. Frank says:
    5 December 2009 at 5:18 PM

    Although every scientist has a right to participate in the political process of deciding what to do about AGW, reporters should try to get their SCIENTIFIC information from climate scientists who generally aren’t active in the political process.

    Climategate suggests (to me, at least) that some politically active climate scientists may have been corrupted by the political process and have not dealt appropriately with the dilemma Schneider describes.

    I submit you have completely lost track of what is important in this sordid affair. Your first assertion is ridiculous on its face: allow only those who are not politically active to speak? Do you not see the self-selection this would reflect? There are already far more denialists on the airwaves than legit scientists. All you are advocating is making false equivalence the standard in science reporting.

    Bizarre.

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Dec 2009 @ 7:42 PM

  50. The Dot Earth blog is an interrogatory exercise in most cases and very different from a fully reported news article. It is, to some extent, part of the reporting/learning process, with reader involvement (and certainly sometimes misdirection etc.).

    That same string of posts included contributions from many experts with varying perspectives, including Raymond Pierrehumbert, a frequent voice on Realclimate, and Ben Santer’s “open letter.” Michael Schlesinger of the U. of Illinois provided a long guest post including a graph of the four data sets charting the 150-year temperature pattern, including Japan’s.

    As for Roger Pielke, Jr., he’s absolutely not a climatologist and noted at the outset that he’s an interested observer. You’re right that he’s not the ideal choice to be commenting on climate sensitivity issues, but to imply that he doesn’t deserve a seat at the table is troubling. Here’s why. He has been an author on dozens of peer-reviewed papers related to climate change, with a particular focus on the climate/hurricane/disaster losses arena. Just go to http://j.mp/PielkeGoog for a sample. Given how many climate scientists have begun speaking out about policy choices (Pielke’s realm) hard to see how he can be excised from discussions.
    Here’s an example of a scientist explaining why he has become a advocate as well:
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/09/the-road-from-climate-science-to-climate-advocacy/

    [Response: Andy, thanks for your response. I concur with your points about the difference between an article and a blog post. But you miscontrue my point. I in no way intended to suggest that Roger should be excluded from the table. My simple point was that it was irresponsible of you to be asking anyone about this highly charged issue (whether the CRU emails really matter to projections of the future) without doing more work to make sure the basic facts were straight. And getting an opinion in addition to Pielke's is particularly important, given that he has repeatedly demonstrated a remarkable ability to mislead readers about the facts.

    To reiterate: I appreciate that Revkin may be trying to use voices that will appear ‘centrist’ to most of his audience. That's totally reasonable. But Pielke’s answers are wrong and they are misleading on the most central question being debated right now.--eric]

    Comment by Andy Revkin — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:04 PM

  51. Consider a “balanced” report on the debate between those who believe the earth to be spherical, and those who believe the earth to be flat. Is this really a “balanced” report, when the reporter lacks the scientific knowledge to observe that the arguments made by flat earthers has long been known to be just WRONG? The fundamental problem with “balanced” reporting is that too many reporters do not have the scientific understanding to know when they are being hoodwinked by charlatans bent on intentionally misinforming folks, for reasons of profit or politics. I don’t pay much attention to most media reports, except that occasionally they lead me to learn more about something. The trouble with “journalists” is they study “journalism” in college, and often times not much else of scientific substance. To make matters worse, science education in our schools is often not done well, so many folks do not have any rational basis for judging the veracity of press reports. We would not have so many people saying “global warming is a hoax” if they understood that this is an unprovable, logically fallacious conclusion.

    Comment by Geno Canto del Halcon — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:13 PM

  52. I enjoy reading both the standard entry blogs and the following posts on your excellent site. The current article is no exception. The problem is one that has been stated several times in different posting contexts over the past few months, but seems to still be missing its target. It is my educated guess (and I think most people both professional and layman who have studied the issue of climate change) that we are in for a hell of a ‘correction’ sometime this century, and most certainly next century. There are certainly quibblings about the rate and severity, but as more data flows in, the more disquieting the prognosis is. Now, in that last sentence I just said is an example of how we tend to talk on this blog.Nothing per se wrong with it, except the moment we try to sound unbiased, technical or just plain wordy, we lose the layman reader of popular press. Local op-ed writers don’t talk like that (unless they are Geo. Will) and, in fact, are happy to talk like Glenn Beck. They are paid, really don’t understand what they are reading, and don’t want to lose their jobs with the particular media they are working for by wandering into controversy.
    What several readers have so clearly pointed out is that it is time for a paradigm shift in how the message about climate change gets into the public forum. We can’t fiddle around with semantics, debate fine points of whether ‘he or she said that in that point in that particular way that indicates whether he or she disagrees in principle with paragraph seven in an obscure peer-reviewed paper that has already been misquoted by a scientist, by the way, not a climate scientist, but still someone doing research into dyes or inchworm velocity and therefore presumeably not stupid blah blah’, or just inundate the metaphorical press/Thames floodgates with abstruse data and math that will simply leave the reader glazed-eyed.
    I think Secular Animist said it in a longer way recently: people and animals and plants are gonna die in stupendous numbers if we don’t finish buttoning our shirt and rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. I am reminded of a remark by Prof. Jones, now infamous for his rather sloppy e-mail technique, and his remark was, in a paraphrase, basically this: he had never had such an awful academic week in his career. Academic week? Does he (and everyone else) not understand what has just happened? Joe Sixpack and his representative political entities, who are still searching actively for Obama’s birth record and wandering about thinking of death committees in the health debate and whether the earth is only six thousand years old, Joe and co. are oblivious to anything technical. You say: to hell with Joe and the ‘fringe’. There is, however, a vast spectrum of skeptics, including those who might be persueded to at least re-examine their notions, if only this subject were clearly, simply (and you can’t spin that one) and uber data-supported (with ample visuals please), and maybe you just might catch a Geo. Will off guard, maybe scare them a bit. Which is what has to happen. Just like the CRU debacle, with just one unguarded, naive moment, all it takes is for just one prominent skeptic to get SCARED and the game is changed. Tipping point backwards. Don’t make it personal. They will just back into a corner and growl like my dog no matter what evidence you present.
    Yes, we are fighting enormous dollars and sophisticated negative propaganda machines. I have a tiny bit of advice: read Theodore Sturgeon’s wonderful (and a bit scary) short story called: A Way of Thinking. And, when you get to the part about throwing the girl at the fan (please, I’m not being a chauvinist…read the story), then think how we can do the same thing. Look…the bunch of scientists here are amply smart to find some original way to get at this. Read that story. I mean it.
    The stakes are stupendously high. The highest in history. That we have not sufficiently scared people into action means we as a species may not have the noggin power in toto to survive this coming Ragnarok.
    Scientists must enter the debate. It does no good to be impartial if you are extinct.

    Comment by greyfox — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  53. Actually Dawkin’s perspective on evolution is pretty far behind the times – he’s a Darwinist a hundred years to late. If you really want to know what the cutting edge of evolutionary theory looks like, try reviews written by someone like Joe Shapiro, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Chicago.

    Popular books on science in rapidly evolving fields of study are usually even farther behind the times than the textbooks used in student courses.

    As far as good media coverage of science? You have to look outside the spectrum of opinion-based PR media drivel – just look at Revkin’s (NYT) discredited sources, or at Eilperin’s (WaPo) refusal to even name her “skeptical sources”, and you’ll realize that they are dealing in propaganda, not factual news.

    Another problem with media is that they attempt to separate the climate issue from the energy issue. What they’ve refused to cover is the manner in which research budgets for renewables are kept to a tiny fraction of that devoted to fossil fuels – a result of the influence of fossil fuel interests on the budgetary process at the DOE.

    Thus, if climate scientists go to the heads of their respective institutions and ask them, “why aren’t we also pursuing a robust renewable energy research plan?”, their academic leaders will point out that without federal funding for public university renewable energy R&D programs, any such efforts would quickly flounder. If the scientist says, “What about DOE grants? I mean, aren’t they like the NSF and NIH grants that finance so much university research?” Well, no – the DOE has decided, again, not to set up that kind of project – everything will go the National Labs and to private industry – and far more is going to coal than to solar.

    This means that a graduate student who really wants to go into renewables will need to leave the country for a program that does have state support – Australia, Germany, and Japan are all options, as is China – but forget about doing it here under this current setup.

    What is the real agenda of the new administration on energy? Well, we do have a few reliable press outlets left:

    Exxon’s $15 Billion Gas Project Gets U.S. Ex-Im Bank Backing.

    Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp. will receive $3 billion in financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for a natural gas project in Papua New Guinea that would be the largest foreign investment in that nation’s history. The funding from the U.S. and about $5 billion coming from export-credit agencies of three other governments will allow a consortium of companies to build a $15 billion pipeline and liquefaction plant, Phil Cogan, an Ex-Im vice president, said in an interview.

    You have got to love Bloomberg – factual information devoid of loaded spin – even if you don’t like what you read. They are clearly at the top of the list, but their areas of coverage are somewhat limited. It’s not all bad news:

    Oldest U.S. Oil Fund Targets Solar Stocks as Crude Outlook Dims
    By Joe Carroll

    Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) — Petroleum & Resources Corp., the oldest U.S. oil fund, plans to invest in solar- and wind-power production for the first time since its founding in 1929 as governments crack down on fuels linked to greenhouse gases. The $555 million closed-end fund, whose biggest holdings are Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., is analyzing wind- power, biofuels, solar and hybrid-car battery makers with an eye to making investments as soon as the second quarter of 2010, Chief Executive Officer Douglas Ober said.

    However, what is the U.S. government really saying to that fund? We’ll give billions to Exxon gas projects, but only a paltry few million to solar projects – so what you have here is the U.S. government intervening in the market to give a giant subsidy to fossil fuels over solar, which will perhaps lead that fund to reconsider investing in solar.

    If you don’t find this sort of outrageous as well as blindingly hypocritical on the part of Obama’s energy-climate team – well, I’d like to see a free-market economist try and justify this behavior. How is it not market distortion in favor of fossil fuels?

    The NYT is not even going to address the issue, are they? They claimed in print that the natural gas pipeline to the tar sands, recipient of another $18 billion in federal subsidies, was really intended for the “Lower 48″ – when every engineer in the business knows that without it, they won’t be able to expand tar sand production. I highly doubt they’ll take the Ex-Im Bank to task for delivering billions in taxpayer dollars to another international fossil fuel project, while large-scale solar goes largely unsupported.

    Why? Printing it would upset the people who own the New York Times, I imagine. Look at what happened to CNN’s science team when they started covering global warming accurately. They were all fired within a few months, correct? Despite the fact the Miles O’Brien was one of the most experienced and accurate science reporters in the business… and if that’s not an argument for media anti-trust legislation, what is?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  54. Eric, when you write

    [Response: Great, I am glad we are in full agreement that any reader who though Revkin was asking you about *actual* data errors and *actual* climate projections would have been misled by your answers. I'm in no way accusing you of being deliberately misleading. I'm just trying to get some clarity on this.--eric]

    you are not confronting reality. You know this is a repeating pattern for Roger, but you encourage him. Why not say based on past behavior I cannot accept your weak excuse.

    [Response: Something to do with taking the high moral ground.--eric]

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  55. For me, the exchange on this topic between Eric and Roger displays a lot of the dynamics of the public debate over AGW. I think in other contexts, the exchange that we saw here would more likely have occurred on a telephone and been done with in 5 minutes.

    Comment by Dean — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:26 PM

  56. Here is RealClimate’s Ray Pierrehumbert said on the NYT thread:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/a-climate-science-forecast-in-the-wake-of-climate-files/#comment3

    “I often find myself disagreeing with Roger, but in this instance I find little to fault with his nice summary of the situation. Regarding your take-home message, though, I don’t think further improvements in data openness fundamentally change the situation regarding uncertainty. Within most of the scientific community working on climate, the uncertainties in the forecast and in our ability to infer climate sensitivity from 20th century data have always featured prominently. Some of the activist literature loses that emphasis, perhaps because they don’t know how to communicate uncertainty without implying that nothing is known and “wait and see” is best. Certainly, I myself have been saying all along that the high-end climate sensitivity is only in the realm of “maybe,” and that clouds do have the physical potential to yield a low climate sensitivity. My own assessment of the evidence is that there is much more support for the possibilty of high climate sensitivity than there is for the possibility of very low climate sensitivity, but there are different ways to assess the confidence of these judgments, and it is a subject of pretty active research. Making decisions under uncertainty is no new thing for society, so I don’t see how the present situation is fundamentally different from other major decisions that potentially involve large amounts of money (like how to re-engineer the financial industry)

    Roger touches on an important point towards the end, in that the importance of the early historical instrumental record will start to fade as more modern data, esp. satellite data, accumulates. I would add to that the idea that what is at least as important as historical data open-ness at this point is to make sure whe have good observing systems in place to monitor the Earth’s temperature, precipitation and energy budget over the coming decades. I myself am quite concerned that we do not have such systems in place, particularly with regard to energy budgets. A fair amount of additional warming is almost certain to take place, and it would be a tragedy not to make use of observations of that to help reduce some uncertainty about the coming centuries.”

    [Response: All very fair. Emphasis added.--eric]

    Comment by Roger Pielke, Jr. — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:28 PM

  57. I think Roger’s error of omission was in directly responding to a push-poll type question. I.E. a hypothetical question about a major revision to the temperature record, can easily be followed by an attempt to discredit the current record and provide credibility to the thesis, that AGW is all wrong. As a political scientist, Roger is likely aware of push-poll techniques, whereby the interviewer or poll taker is not interested in getting unbaised data, but rather is trying to lead the pollee in a given direction. Now, under the time pressure of an oral interview, and wanting to be seen in friendly terms by the reporter, this is an easy trap to fall into (I suspect I’d have to practice a few times to avoid being manipulated in this manner). We can only hope he will be more aware of this issue next time around.

    Comment by Thomas — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:44 PM

  58. “a few years ago, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer called for a greater emphasis on truth, rather than ‘balance’. ”

    Great idea, since we all can agree on what is true, right?

    [Response: When it comes to most aspects of the science (such as factual things about how scientists determine climate sensitivity), yes, actually, we can.--eric]

    Comment by Karl — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:53 PM

  59. Why not ask Andy Revkin why he’s buying into the repeating pattern?

    Andy, you here? Want to ask that question again?

    I confess I can’t manage to read dot.earth regularly, let alone participate in the popularity contest links on the copypaste opinion postings. But if someone would edit it to take all the nothing-new-duplicate posts out of dot.earth, what would be left could reward the reading time.

    Ah, but I forget, selling reader’s eyeballs to the advertisers, needs volume.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Dec 2009 @ 8:56 PM

  60. Apologies, meant to write “with NO intention….”

    Comment by Stephen — 5 Dec 2009 @ 9:38 PM

  61. What you are doing, Andy, is ACCOMMODATING Roger, who is clearly a dishonest policy crank, which makes you an accommodationist. That makes you part of the problem, Andy, and not part of the solution. The solution is to call Roger what he is, as I have just done here.

    [Response: Let me again be clear that I was *not* in any way suggesting Roger's voice should be stifled. What I *was* suggesting is that I'd like to hear less from him and more from someone else, especially when technical issues are being asked about? How about Susan Solomon? How about Peter Huybers at Harvard, or Carl Wunsch at M.I.T.? To be fair, all of these people are smarter than me and perhaps Andy has asked and they (being smart) have said "too busy."--eric]

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 5 Dec 2009 @ 9:51 PM

  62. I think Revkin does a very good job overall, and is an important piece of the puzzle for educating the public, and I don’t think those commenters who are making snide remarks about him are being productive. Having said that, I also think it is important to make sure that people who don’t have a good grasp on the science are given a soap-box from which to make statements that sound like they are talking about the science. So we should address the questions of “what is the science” and “how do we communicate the uncertainties and simultaneously the reasons for concern in a way that engages, educates, and convinces the public” rather than labeling one of the best climate journalists out there as “part of the problem” when he is clearly “part of the solution.” (and there is a dearth of really high profile, good climate journalists, sadly).

    Comment by Marcus — 5 Dec 2009 @ 10:08 PM

  63. Um. Edit above: people who don’t know science should _not_ be given a soap box to make misleading statements about the science.

    Though this is complicated, in that many publicizers and educators are not going to know the science in depth, and yet not using their skills at communication would be shooting ourselves in the foot. Yet the whole screening problem is hard… and there are people who _do_ understand the science (e.g. Lindzen) who have been known to make more misleading statements per minute than non-scientists who do a good job at consulting scientists (e.g. Al Gore, who isn’t perfect but really has done a credible job for the most part).

    Comment by Marcus — 5 Dec 2009 @ 10:12 PM

  64. While I’m writing: can someone please explain why climate scientists are not supposed to enter into any policy debates, when it is absolutely standard practice for medical scientists to do just that?”

    Sure, Roger’s probably got at least a dozen himself. Oh, wait you meant valid answers I bet.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 5 Dec 2009 @ 10:59 PM

  65. “But, that’s all water under the bridge I suppose because you now say you agree with me that if Revkin had asked a better question, such as “Is it at all likely that any of this matters to future projections?” you would have answered “No, it is not at all likely.” Right?–eric]”

    I’m sure not convinced he would. As good as Revkin is, he has to play the doubt card because a lot of readers, and advertisers still have it. The result is the false balance that should be drummed out of the stories until an actual opposing finding is found, which is unlikely on both counts. There has been a conservative action program in newspapers and that that view has to be presented even if it’s demonstrably false. On one hand NASA, who monitors the Earth and the heavens and lands rovers on Mars. On the other, a joint study between the Raelians and The Heartland Institute. Who you gonna call? At newspapers we aren’t allowed to make a determination for fear of having a POV. It’s pathetic. Declare a winner already. I have a biological science and journalism degree.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:07 PM

  66. this is such a disaster for the united states. Already the fringe right have begun to distance itself from reality and this was the final piece of the puzzle they needed. Now they can effectively deny any scientific result and or study out there.

    The science stays the same, but the public trust in science is even more eroded. This liberal/conservative narrative has now polluted everything. Everything must be viewed through the lens of partisanship. The US is beginning to come apart at the seems and the far right is cheering on the destruction…hoping to stake their claim on whats left of the collapse.

    Comment by matt — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:08 PM

  67. re: Revkin, Pielke etc

    There was a span of years — between the time that Joseph Welch settled McCarthy’s hash and the time Rupert Murdoch and Jack Welch decided that news organizations were corporate assets first and information providers second or tenth — that American media actually seemed to try for the truth of the matter. Since then? Not so much.

    New organizations sell readers to advertisers. Controversy draws readers. I wouldn’t wait for the pattern to change.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:20 PM

  68. Pielke Jr despairs over the politicization of climate science while doing his level best to instigate it. Then he’ll be the only ‘honest broker’ left.

    Comment by DrC — 5 Dec 2009 @ 11:57 PM

  69. Something to do with taking the high moral ground

    Sorry, not effective. The others aren’t interested in taking any high ground, moral or otherwise.

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 AM

  70. What strikes me more and more:

    People who don’t believe in evolution can’t believe in climate change:

    deep time; natural selection; fossil evidence of varying climate; rate of change of adaptation — all require the same basic information about life on Earth, and none of that information is going to be taken as settled science for people who don’t believe evolution happens.

    I suspect if Andy Revkin’s commenters could be sorted on that basis, much of the copypaste disbelief would sort out.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2009 @ 12:14 AM

  71. Hank, I think there is something in what you suggest about evolution denial and climate change denial. Of course, what we might call the techniques of denial are more widely-shared still, with smoking-cancer denial, etc., showing some familiar debating moves.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Dec 2009 @ 12:58 AM

  72. Eric (inline response to #6): “Makes you wonder who the “gatekeepers” Judy Curry talks about are, doesn’t it?” Er, Peter Webster?

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:08 AM

  73. Malcom T, I don’t think that it should be just one author. One hundred heads are better than one. I’m often amazed at the new ideas I get just listening to others. Get the best of the bunch, the real intellects – sans the stupid egos, then have them sit down and discuss the project ahead of time. I like Dawkins in his field but as an example for this project he seems too closed minded for me. Almost militantly Atheistic. To me atheism is just as dogmatic as theism. Someone claiming that they KNOW. It’s a big, BIG universe out there and we humans are a speck of a species which is just emerging from our befuddled primordial ooze.

    There is, I believe, way, Way, WAY more yet to learn out there then we imagine. Right now, we’re like thirteen year olds that think that we know it all. No, we need open but intelligent minds. Einstein would be a good example. Not too msny out there though. But I get your point about popularizers. Monbiot might be a good choice, though he did melodramatically jump the gun a bit with the current issue.

    Ike Solem, I am all for alternative energy, but let’s strive for decentralized when possible. Send our money there. Why should we continue economic slavery to some large energy corporation that can just bring all of it’s customers down with it should it fail.

    Also we absolutely have to find a way to bring down human numbers (ethically of course). Way down. As ZPG (to which I do not belong) wisely says, “Whatever your cause, it’s a lost cause unless we control population”.

    Comment by Ron R. — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:55 AM

  74. What about someone like Steve McIntyre. Would you prefer to have him add comments? He seems to have much more thought out arguments then your run of the mill deniers.

    [Response: Which he is incapable of expressing without insinuations of fraud, dishonesty and scientific misconduct. If he gave that a rest, he might get somewhere. - gavin]

    Comment by Jonathan Fischoff — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:00 AM

  75. I am reminded you of Paul Krugman’s observation that if W. Bush said the world was flat, the newspapers would run articles headlined, “Opinions differ on shape of earth.”

    Eppur si muove.

    Comment by The Raven — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:49 AM

  76. http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/
    warns me not to click on the pictures pages because they lead to too many megabytes for this machine and my slow connection to handle. That is also true for the non-photograph lists. I looked at part of one list of skeptics. I didn’t see a column for marking receipt of money from the fossil fuel industry. We need Professor Prall or somebody would include such a column. I did see that the skeptics were mostly or all in sciences other than climatology. Weather forecasting, including hurricane forecasting, is NOT climate science. Scientists who are not CLIMATE scientists should be ignored since they are no more expert on climate than any lay person.

    What journalists “SHOULD” do is count the number of CLIMATE scientists on each side of the issue who have not received any biasing inputs, such as money from the fossil fuel industry; and report the count.

    I don’t believe that journalists who get published in most popular media will ever do as they should without getting fired. Getting the truth on US national TV could only be done by the President including a long section on climate in a major speech in which the President used his authority to pre-empt TV time. In other words, it would have to be in the Sate of the Union speech or something similar. I hope he does, but I’m not holding my breath. A sound byte on climate doesn’t count. It would have to be at least 20 minutes worth.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:16 AM

  77. This “false balance” thing is straight out of the tobacco propaganda playbook. Apparently it is unacceptable bias not to give the pro-cancer view equal time. This all viewpoints are equally valid thing is particularly bizarre when seen in The Australian a denialist mouthpiece because, the same paper denounces “post modernism” in education. Makes me wonder if they have any clue what they are talking about.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 6 Dec 2009 @ 4:27 AM

  78. What would force a revision to the theory? Discovery of a strong negative feedback; yet to be found.–eric] — It will bee interesting to see what the CLOUD experiment just commissioned at CERN turns up then.

    [Response: Even if they find something, it wouldn't be a feedback. It would be an additional mechanism of potential forcing. But since GCR have been basically stable over the last 50 years, it is not a particularly relevant mechanism for long-term trends. - gavin]

    Comment by harry? — 6 Dec 2009 @ 5:05 AM

  79. Do most of you live in some windowless cave or apartment? Do you spend the entire day sitting in front of your screen like a news addict or blog master? At least #37 is bringing in measurements from the real world but it seems that most of the writers here are regurgitating the latest ramblings of Rush or some other media hack.

    Go outside. Ramble in the nearest forest or field, remember what that looked like in your youth at this time of year, think about it, talk to those who’ve been rambling for 40 or 50 years. Is there any change in the past 20-50 years? Does that change make you think it may be getting warmer or colder, drier or wetter where you ramble? Do this twice a week for 5 years, 10 years. Take notes of what you see. Then come back here with your own observations and educate us about the change in your world. Surprise us.

    Recently a high school student surprised the naturalist at a local college (VA) when the student brought in a gravid spring peeper (frog) in the month of November. As far as the naturalist could determine this was the first recorded gravid spring peeper found in the month of November and one of a very few found in the fall months. Do the frogs know more than the humans about climate change? One might make that argument.

    Mike T

    Comment by MikeTabony — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:09 AM

  80. @harry?
    If the bunny (that’s Eli Rabett) shows up, he’ll probably point out that the CLOUD experiment is very likely to fail. They’ve already done some tests, have published the first results, and so far it looks like all they can see is wall effects…That is, the observations are almost exclusively governed by what happens at the walls of the chamber in which they perform the experiment (notably rather poorly acknowledged in the discussion of the first results). Trying to find the proposed (small!) effects of GCR in that huge amount of noise is going to be ‘fun’…

    Comment by Marco — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:11 AM

  81. It seems to me that a simple statement of the AGW scientific controversy would be that CO2, including anthropogenic CO2, is contributor to greenhouse gasses with very long-life. Trends toward global warming can be found in much of the paleoclimate data of the last several decades. The detailed theories of this are controversial within the scientific community and lead to affirmers and deniers of the urgency and importance of attempting to limit as best we can those CO2 contributions that are man-made. If the affirmers are right, the long term effects could be very serious for our planet and our ways of life. It would be very foolish to assume this risk, even should the deniers ultimately prove to be scientifically correct.

    This is only my suggested statement, the idea came to me from reading Peter Kelemen’s excellent discussion on page 3 of his recent Popular Mechanics article. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4338343.html?page=3.

    cheers

    john

    Comment by John Peter — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:11 AM

  82. Gavin

    would you like to comment on this story from the BBC website

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8387737.stm

    IPCC – out by 300 years and using non-peer reviewed information!

    Comment by phil cunningham — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:35 AM

  83. The stupidity that is called Climategate has really gotten the media into a down-syndrome frenzy. And unfortunately the science is losing.

    An example from Poland (my rough translation) – this is not from a blog or a commentary, its news posted as news and pretending to be news:
    [Re the CRU emails:] “It is evident from their content that the so called “global warming” is nothing other than a great fraud. From the published letters a clear picture of the conspiracy is drawn, which goal was to convince the public opinion that we are indeed awaiting a warming. Sentences such as ‘I just corrected the data, added some values, so as to hide the real temperature decline’”.

    The most appauling thing is that they actually made up their own sentence (loosely based on the original Jones email that said nothing of the sort) and are now pretending its a quotation…

    AAAARGH!!! Its at times like this I’m surprised climate scientists don’t go postal too often…

    Comment by Shamek Stepien — 6 Dec 2009 @ 9:01 AM

  84. “The US is beginning to come apart at the seems and the far right is cheering on the destruction…hoping to stake their claim on whats left of the collapse.”

    Trouble is, too many of them were reared on 80s-vintage post-apocalyptic fantasies (Mad Max). They actually think they could survive more than a week in a Cormac McCarthy world without turning into someone’s breakfast.

    Comment by Sufferin' Succotash — 6 Dec 2009 @ 9:03 AM

  85. What I have been trying to do (absolutely unsuccessfully so far) is to get someone to actually respond and think about what has happened in the ‘real world’ out there viz a viz the hacked e-mails. I stopped and read all the rest of the posts, some very good, some repetitive, and thought, no one is really experienced here in politics, in persuesive argument, in, if I may say so, getting their hands grubby in the soil of policy making.
    In our local rag, the Arizona Republic, on page 16, this Sunday morning edition, there is a full page article, quoted from some Washington Post writers (already we’re doomed to right-wing propaganda) which clearly wishes to cast significant doubt on whether warming is anything to worry about. Further, apropos of the RealClimate article above, they (the Post writers) warmly quote Roger Pielke as though his information were more valid because he seems skeptical..i.e., he fits their story mode the best, all the rest of the evidence be damned. Further, they regurgitate the old talking points about natural cycles, that other ‘mainstream scientists’ say no to anthropogenic causes, and use the unfortunately worded Trenberth e-mail to poison the well of public opinion. In other words, although utter rubbish and biased, with quotes taken out of context etc etc, it is a very effective piece for the denialists, because it does ALL of those things that will plant doubt in the minds of the layman, and ultimately their elected officials. Our state legislature, at least the portion to the right aisle side, in case you’ve missed it, is mired somewhere in the middle of the eleventh century, and we’ve become the dubious winners of both the second worse state economy and the worst in supporting public education. Yet they keep getting re-elected. That is what I want to get across to you, all of you. In Australia, they just scuttled a cap and trade proposal of Rudd’s….and someone else has quoted a Polish newspaper with denialist leanings..
    This is the audience and the news organs like mine (if you can even call them that now) are the suppliers of information, along with the Becks, Hannity’s, and so on. Another local op-ed guy, always the denialist, has seized on the CRU e-mails like a bulldog.
    Would someone address what I’m talking about? I’m not writing just to see my stuff ‘in print’. I’m frankly terrified, especially for my grown children, and theirs in potentia as well. We have to get out of our adolescence politically speaking and take control of this discussion. So far, I see posts wander back and forth, with personal pique seemingly pushing some responses. Trees for forest. Can we talk about the forest for a while? Warming may make this planet a living hell if we don’t get off our collective duffs.

    [Response: I appreciate your thoughts. I think one problem with the discussion is that even though the facts are clear, the consequences are not nearly so clear, especially for those of us in the first world. Yes, sea level will rise and displace millions of people, but millions of people are already being displaced by war and poverty. Yes, crop failures in the tropics are likely to get worse; but this is where poverty already reigns. Yes, species will be pushed further to, and over, the brink of extinction, but this is already happening due to deforestation. I think it is entirely plausible that the average American, even if they experience the effects of all this, won’t recognize it as ‘due to’ global warming, because it won’t be just that one cause.

    The result of all that is that scientists — even those of us who are accused of alarmism — are actually very reluctant to talk much about how bad things might be. To put this numerically, it might warm 6 degrees by 2100, but it will probably warm only 3. So we talk about 3, since that is our ‘best estimate (this is only an example, I’m not making a projection here). Then the average reader hears that we are “overstating” it, and takes 3 and averages it with zero, and gets 1.5, and says “what’s the big deal”.

    In short, even when we talk about the forest, what gets heard is “a few more trees got cut down”.

    I don’t know what to do about this, but I do know that the mainstream media is not really helping with the way they are reporting things surrounding the CRU emails. Hence my complaint to Andy Revkin in this post.

    Having said all that, I think that it is important that RealClimate get back to the science most of the time. There is a lot of good stuff being published (some of it not frightening (I’ll have a post on that in the next week or two)), and it ought to be highlighted here.

    –eric

    Comment by greyfox — 6 Dec 2009 @ 10:18 AM

  86. Phil, here’s how to study glaciers:

    CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 97, NO. 2, 25 JULY 2009
    http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/jul252009/240.pdf

    … the contributions of different water sources, namely rain, snow and glacier are being estimated using isotopic techniques in the Bhagirathi River near Gaumukh, the origin of the Ganges.

    The Gangotri glacier is the largest glacier in western Himalayas. The study area falls in Uttarkashi District, Uttarakhand, between latitudes 30°43′N and 31°01′N, and between longitudes 79°0′E and 79°17′E (Figure 1). The proglacial meltwater river, known as the Bhagirathi River, emerges from the snout of the Gangotri glacier at an elevation of 4000 m. The meltwater is drained through a well-defined single terminus of the glacier….

    The recording of discharge of the Bhagirathi River at the gauging site reveals that it remains more or less in the range 8.0–10 m3/s during May/first week of June (Figure 2). As the temperature increases, the discharge increases; higher discharge (100–180 m3/s) has been recorded in July/August when the temperature reaches a maximum of 10–12°C (Figure 2). Thus features of discharge and temperature show strong correlation between air tempera- ture and discharge of the Bhagirathi River. The recession of discharge starts in September and quickly reaches the level of 10.0 m3/s, as is observed in the initial part of May. A sharp decrease in air temperature has also been recorded during July–September when heavy rain events occur (Figures 2 and 3). It has been observed that during the sharp decline of air temperature due to cloudy weather condition, the river discharge also declines abruptly instead of increasing (Figure 3). The decreasing trend of river discharge with rain events apparently indicates no effect of rainfall on river discharge. Therefore, it becomes difficult to estimate the impact of rain on discharge in the case of snow and glacier-fed rivers at higher altitudes using the conventional techniques. It also posed a problem in estimating the contribution of rain to the discharge of the Bhagirathi River. Consequently, isotopic signatures of river and rainfall were employed to solve this problem. The abrupt change in isotopic composition of the river after the rain events is only due to run-off generated by contemporaneous rain joining the river (Figure 4). However, the decrease in river discharge has resulted due to cloudy weather conditions during rainfall and a sudden decline of atmospheric temperature. The decline in atmospheric temperature reduces the melting of snow and ice. Thus the overall discharge of the river has declined which includes the run-off contributed by rain and snow and glacier…..
    ——–

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:17 AM

  87. eric wrote: “… it is evident that neither of them has provided sufficient evidence for extraordinary claims.”

    Please define, objectively and quantifiably, what constitutes an “extraordinary” claim. And once you have explained, objectively and quantifiably, how all observers can agree on the exact degree of “extraordinariness” of a claim, please explain why in the world that should have any bearing on the type, quality or quantity of evidence needed to support that claim, vs. other claims that are (objectively, mind you) less “extraordinary”.

    As you note further on in your article, “Pielke’s answers, while they sound very reasonable, are wrong.” If Pielke’s “reasonable” (i.e. non-extraordinary) answers can be simply “wrong”, then what bearing can “extraordinariness” have on the truth or falsehood of a claim?

    Carl Sagan’s signature “skeptical” aphorism that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” (restating a similar statement by the mathematician Laplace) is certainly one of the worst things that any philosopher of science has ever said.

    There is no objective basis for classifying certain claims as “extraordinary” and requiring different standards of evidence for those claims than for others. Scientific objectivity requires that all claims be subjected to the same standards of evidence, not to different standards based on someone’s subjective judgment as to how “extraordinary” they are.

    I don’t know what particular claims by Christy or Hansen you are referring to as being “extraordinary”, but it doesn’t seem to me to be at all “extraordinary” that they think the IPCC has either overstated or understated the consequences of climate change, nor do I see any reason why such claims should require some “extraordinary” standard of proof compared to claims by those who think the IPCC got it just right.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:42 AM

  88. #40 and #45: I don’t think IPCC would be willing to call out the deniers, because it’s not in their job description, and their restrained and careful language would produce a timid result.

    I’m collecting information for something I’m going to submit to a magazine or blog called “10 most debunked climate change articles since 1990″. Soon and Baliunas set the standard, but there are plenty of plum candidates.

    I’m not well known, and if someone wants to do it better- or join me in the effort- he can reach me at greenframe@aol.com. Alternatively, an RC reader could just send me their favorite candidates.

    The article would be science based, including details about the refutations, but a little humor and strong language will be included. If we’re going to reach a popular audience, restrained and technical language won’t work.

    Comment by mike roddy — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:52 AM

  89. #86 Hank
    thanks for the reply however…

    the point of the article is that the IPCC
    has got the figure wrong by 300 years
    and did not use peer review documents.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8387737.stm

    please read the article and let me know what you think on these two points

    Comment by phil cunningham — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:53 AM

  90. Well, this is somewhat easy to fix. Andy could post another blog article and give the real science on the issue. I remember when I suggested people read here SIX DEGREES by Mark Lynas, and posted a newsstory about it (which, of course, exaggerated it and got some things wrong), and certain scioentists here pounced on the book, but later when they actually read it were impressed by its extensive use of science, and then there was overall acceptance of the book here. And the stir, I think, actually make the book more famous.

    Likewise, Andy could clarify that, acc to real climate scientists, Pielke was wrong. The stir will actually draw attention to what the real climate scientists have to say & also help clear up the CRU issue a bit. (Of course the denialists won’t be swayed, only the open-minded types will be, but then there is NOTHING that could sway the denialists away from the dark side, so no actual loss to science or to the honest science folks.)

    And all’s well that ends well, er, now back to the regularly scheduled disaster of climate change and our need to mitigate, at least do things that save us money and save the earth and could cut GHGs by 50%. Come on folks.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:59 AM

  91. This issue of “false balance” is yet another example of the problem that the scientific community has failed to understand the manufactured doubt industry and has failed to come up with a proper response to it. I described this in a comment on the “Unsettled Science” thread:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/comment-page-3/#comment-147008

    I doubt that much progress on these issues will be made until the scientific community fully understands and responds to the manufactured doubt industry.
    The barbarians are at the gates, and simply being a good scientist and quietly presenting the evidence will not provide a solution to the problem.

    Comment by Jim Torson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 12:05 PM

  92. Eric, you totally lost me in your reply to grefox’s comment.

    First, you wrote:

    Yes, sea level will rise and displace millions of people, but millions of people are already being displaced by war and poverty. Yes, crop failures in the tropics are likely to get worse; but this is where poverty already reigns. Yes, species will be pushed further to, and over, the brink of extinction, but this is already happening due to deforestation. I think it is entirely plausible that the average American, even if they experience the effects of all this, won’t recognize it as ‘due to’ global warming, because it won’t be just that one cause.

    So, we are likely to see millions more people displaced, millions more people descending into poverty and hunger, and more mass extinctions, caused by global warming interacting synergistically with other human impacts on the environment (e.g. deforestation) as well as with human tendencies towards war and social unrest.

    Sounds really bad.

    And, Americans — who may or may not experience these effects as acutely as the world’s poor — may not even recognize the role that global warming is playing in making some very bad things much worse.

    That also sounds really bad, because the USA is in a unique position to affect the outcomes for the better, but without strong public support for the necessary policies may well fail to do so, to the detriment of the whole world.

    So what is, or should be, the response of scientists who best understand the nature of the problem? You wrote:

    The result of all that is that scientists — even those of us who are accused of alarmism — are actually very reluctant to talk much about how bad things might be.

    All I can say is — HUH ?!? Say WHAT ?!?

    In one breath, you concisely lay out the bare outlines of an overwhelming human catastrophe that will likely, within the lifetimes of people now living, dwarf all of the human suffering of all the 20th century’s wars and the great depression combined — just from its direct and immediate effects, let alone its almost unthinkable long-term effects on the Earth’s biosphere. And you note that Americans are not making the connection between cause and effect.

    And then in the next breath, you say that your response is to be “reluctant to talk much about how bad things might be.”

    Sorry, but that seems to me to be a total disconnect.

    You know, there was a time when certain people were loudly declaring that global thermonuclear war would be “winnable”.

    It was very, very important at that time that scientists (Carl Sagan among them) stepped up and (perhaps “reluctantly”) and “talked about how bad things might be” and made people aware that the “winnable nuclear war” talk was rubbish.

    That’s what we need from the scientific community today.

    And by the way, don’t count on the crop failures being confined to the tropics. Look at the mainstream forecasts of what global warming has in store for the vast agricultural regions of North America. Look at forecasts of plummeting crop yields in China. Look at Australia. It’s not a pretty picture.

    [Response: I agree. Carl Sagan had the fortune to not be competing with 100 other TV channels, so people actually listened to him. I have no idea how to tackle this, other than to keep doing what I'm doing -- speaking up whenever possible. But I have lots of colleagues who say "I admire the work you are doing" but who don't do it themselves. On the other hand, one colleague recently called me a 'militant' (he's a good friend, and trying to be funny, but this is the attitude we're contending with).--eric]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Dec 2009 @ 12:07 PM

  93. I don’t get it, what do you mean by the 3rd paragraph?

    Comment by utilmbublew — 6 Dec 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  94. Eli is glad to see that Gavin is catching on about Lil’ Roger (in #7)

    Lil’Roger is engaged in a deligitimizing exercise which is designed to leave him as the only credible voice on climate science. . .

    after four years or so. As the Rabett said here in 2005

    What you are doing here, and in your publications, and on Prometheus is to assert ownership of a series of issues, the latest of which is hurricane damage due to climate change. Your incessant self citation is a clear indication. I am certain you will reply that somewhere in a post somewhen you may have mentioned another’s work. You react to any challenge to your theses virulently, and in your replies often distort what others have said, for example your last blow up about the Trenberth slide. In short, you act as a policy person, not a science person. Horrors, at least when this is pointed out. But again, sui generis. This is what one expects of a policy wonk, for example Brad de Long. Yet, you keep telling those of us who reply to you that you are scientifically as pure as the driven snow. I beg to differ.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 6 Dec 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  95. As a field theorist I would like an answer to my first post (#3) – are there any revisions to the temperature record, or any possible future temperature records that you believe would falsify the hypothesis that CO2 warming is a large, and potentially destabilizing threat to the planet? If there are, what specifically are they? If not how is this different from any other time wasting dogma?

    Comment by Mesa — 6 Dec 2009 @ 12:58 PM

  96. “…but such radical changes are almost impossible to envision happening”

    Sounds like a prediction to me. Could you give some constraints to it so that this hypothesis can be falsified?

    [Response: Sure. Start with this randomly googled newspaper article about borehole data, read the papers referred to. Revisions to the surface temperature series that are outside the 95% confidence bounds on the boreholes will be 'falsification' of of my hypothesis.--eric]

    Comment by Bill K — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:19 PM

  97. 85 – “Would someone address what I’m talking about? I’m not writing just to see my stuff ‘in print’. I’m frankly terrified, especially for my grown children, and theirs in potentia as well. We have to get out of our adolescence politically speaking and take control of this discussion. So far, I see posts wander back and forth, with personal pique seemingly pushing some responses. Trees for forest. Can we talk about the forest for a while? Warming may make this planet a living hell if we don’t get off our collective duffs.”

    Al-Gore and a some scientists did significant harm to progress on global warming because they turned the scientific discussion into a partisan political discussion. Instead of a science debate, the discussion is liberal vs conservative. Some have even used global warming as a stage horse to obtain very liberal ideologies such as global government. Global warming is no longer an issue about avoiding consequences; instead, it has become an issue of power and money with consequences taking a back seat.

    Some climate scientists are also very thin skinned with regard to criticism. There exists an attitude that criticism is unwarranted, and any criticism is often met with very personal attacks. One can ask a simple question or offer criticism of a certain area of global warming science, and that person will be labeled a denier.

    To make matters worse, many people are peddling snake oil in order to profit from fear. Technologies such as ethanol are completely and totally bullshit. There also exists many resource problems in various renewable technologies that are never ever discussed; instead, people just talk about how these technologies are magical solutions. Just about every single renewable technologies requires rare earth materials that may effect the scope in which the technologies can be used.

    To make matters worse still, China stands to benefit tremendously from renewable technologies because it is the source for many materials used in the technologies, yet it demands nations like the USA to give a certain percentage of their GDP to China for any action on global warming. Obviously, the developed nations are not going to give in to such ideas any time soon. Some nations may have some legitimate requests for help, but nations like China are not one of them. So international agreement isn’t taking place, and is stalled. The Copenhagen meeting coming soon will be a failure that is declared a success.

    Finally, I’m not too sure nations could change as quickly as scientists are demanding even with widespread political support. Whatever people want to believe, economies are not like light switches that can be simply flipped on and off. Fossil fuels will be needed for a significant period of time; moreover, there exists significant engineering problems that have yet to enter the debate. Some of these material problems may require engineering solutions that have yet to be developed. In any case, fossil fuel will continue to be used for several decades.

    In a basic nutshell, the response to global warming is a cluster-duck for many reasons, and I don’t think it will change in the foreseeable future.

    Comment by EL — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:20 PM

  98. “I think one problem with the discussion is that even though the facts are clear, the consequences are not nearly so clear, especially for those of us in the first world. Yes, sea level will rise and displace millions of people, but millions of people are already being displaced by war and poverty. Yes, crop failures in the tropics are likely to get worse; but this is where poverty already reigns. Yes, species will be pushed further to, and over, the brink of extinction, but this is already happening due to deforestation. I think it is entirely plausible that the average American, even if they experience the effects of all this, won’t recognize it as ‘due to’ global warming, because it won’t be just that one cause.”

    So when bad things happen it will be seen as bad things happening because, hey, bad things happen? Are you afraid you folks won’t get enough credit for bad things that happen?

    I’m all for you getting full credit for bad things happening. Will you get equal credit for Siberia and Canada coming more online as crop producing countries?

    [Response: Don't be an idiot. This has nothing to do with 'getting credit'. --eric]

    Comment by vanderleun — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:30 PM

  99. Hope this isn’t too OT.

    Hank, re:evolution/climatechange denialism. True I suspect. It seems that a lot of the effort that has been going into reason on these issues is probably wasted simply because a lot of people dont want to believe it, they just won’t see. Biblical Apocalypse is supposed to happen anyway. To try to stop it would be to actually work against God’s plan. Most of these people view science through narrowed eyes, sometimes rightly so, and have been taught to see scientists as stuffy elitists out to rip them off or otherwise do them harm.

    Sufferin’ Succotash, there’s a movie coming out this month I think, The Road. I think the gun-totin para-military rightwing are especially frightening. They are sooooo very angry right now (a carefully manufactured anger I might add) thanks to the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Bachmann etc. A lot of these people have been praying for the collapse of everything just so, IMO, they can rape, plunder and kill at will. They decry the supposed situational ethics of the left but paradoxically they are the most situational of all, able, for example to marry the Sermon on the mount and nuclear weapons, Jesus and semi-automatic rifles without a pang of conscience. They’ve invested a lot psychologically and materially in collapse and are doing their best to convince everyone to give up hope, just look at their websites. In that they are, I think, having a negative effect on economic recovery.

    I too would like to see change since the path we’ve been on especially as regards population/consumption and some technologies are worrysome. But I’d like to see it done in a thoughtout orderly and compassionate way not pell mell chaos.

    Comment by Ron R. — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  100. Eric – if you’re militant, what does that make Hansen? I saw him give a talk in Copenhagen some months ago, and he was telling people to start take action, right now!

    Of course, he backed this up with facts on why it is necessary to do something straight away.

    Hopefully, Hansen’s view is predominant here in Copenhagen the next couple of weeks.

    Comment by Kristjan Wager — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:38 PM

  101. Gavin ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/who-you-gonna-call/comment-page-1/#comment-147233 ),

    Do you count me among “the denialist fringe” commenting at Roger Pielke’s blog?

    If so…

    1) Note that I would happily comment and present evidence here — but, experience tells me you tend not to publish any evidence or commentary which you find to be “inconvenient”. And, the more scientifically rigorous, the less likely it is to be published. Gee, that tactic sounds vaguely familiar.

    2) Kindly tell me which part of the following presentation (overview and more detailed) you find to be representative of “the denialist fringe”?

    http://sbvor.blogspot.com/2009/10/climate-change-science-overview.html

    I’m just asking.

    Comment by SBVOR — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  102. I suggest that you use TiO2 CI77891 instead of CaCO3 as the transparency of the latter weakens your case

    Kindest regards
    Erling

    Comment by Erling Steen — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:45 PM

  103. @eric

    “The only conceivable changes to the record of surface temperatures are in the short term variability”

    You are patient with us long aeons beyond our deserts. Nevertheless, the above is true only in the current state of scientific understanding. Many a well established and amply checked data set has later been found to incorporate a hidden systematic distortion and/or measuring error. Those hidden errors and distortions become important to the careers of those that find them, but I cannot recall any of them entailing a significant retraction of major scientific conclusions.

    Comment by David Heigham — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:57 PM

  104. Kindly tell me which part of the following presentation (overview and more detailed) you find to be representative of “the denialist fringe”?

    I took a 5 second look. That’s all it took to find something representative of “the denialist fringe”.

    Your argument about geologic timescales is a red herring. We’re interested in human timescales, in particular the impact in the next century, not geological timescales. There’s nothing “inconvenient” about the well-known fact that CO2 levels in (say) the carboniferous were higher.

    Sorry, but having read that, I saw no reason to continue. If this is representative of the quality of the kind of stuff you’ve been trying to post here, it’s easy to understand why your posts haven’t seen the light of day.

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Dec 2009 @ 1:58 PM

  105. I know this is a science page, but I have to get something off my chest. I hope no one minds. I’m just a bit depressed after having looked through the special comment section on climate change constructed by the New York Times.

    As people here know very well, every time there’s a story on climate change at one of the major news web sites, a Company-sized group of denialists swarms the comments section, using high school debating tactics to ignore the science, and usually trying to reduce the discussion to a clash of personalities. Often I detect the same voice behind different comments. And every time, I ask myself…

    *Who* *are* *these* *PEOPLE*?

    And that’s the problem. They’re anonymous, and they usually hide behind that anonymity, or they use fake names that are unintentionally hilarious.

    (I sometimes wonder whether the ability to remain anonymous through adopting logons constitutes the Internet’s fatal flaw, at least in the area of public discourse. After all, if someone called you on the phone, refused to identify themselves, and then showered you with insults, you would think the person insane and hang up. But that sort of thing happens all the time in comment sections.)

    But what if people were *forced* to identify themselves truthfully on comment sections? What would happen to the denialist Borg then? I suspect that many of those folks would be exposed. I also notice that quite a few people on Real Climate identify themselves, which is a good thing.

    I don’t know how or if this would work. Maybe people could enter register before leaving comments on a site in a way that would allow a server to reference legal records to establish ID. I don’t know. It’s just an idea. Curious to hear your reactions.

    The name below is in fact my own!

    Comment by Patrick Stephenson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:01 PM

  106. In response to Gavin’s comment about delegitimizing, the Pielke’s positions on AGW and the IPCC and RC (supportive of the A in AGW while very critical of the IPCC, etc) do tend to put them in a political middle ground that some on the media will find useful. I have seen media interviews where RPJr declines to answer questions about sensitivity claiming its not his field of expertise.

    I suggested to Roger on his blog that his calling other scientists liars and plagiarists, particularly in cases where he is not directly involved, really drives a lot of this. His behavior towards other scientists actually mimics the behavior that he complains he has been subjected to. Even though he is heavily cited in IPCC reports, they still claim to be ignored and aggrieved.

    His response was that his attacks were backed up by facts and those on him weren’t – a classic myopia. Whatever one calls his role, it is not that of the honest broker. He has chosen to try and be the enforcer of his model of proper behavior on climate science in the hope – stated on his blog – that it will motivate moderate conservatives to do the same to their more extremist elements. So if he takes care of RC and the IPCC, “they” (G. Will? who?) will take care of Inhofe, etc. Anybody who knows politics knows it doesn’t work that way.

    He does frequently state his unequivocal support for the human role on climate change, and this really gives him this unique niche since so few of his supporters can bring themselves to do so. But those who consider him a moderate fail to recognize the impact of these aggressive attacks and name-calling. That this serves to make him appear more of a moderate when combined with his support for the human role in climate change is only more galling to those subject to the attacks. Folks in the media like Tom Fuller, who always ask why Roger invoked such passions, and who consider RPJr nearly the definition of a moderate need to look at how these attacks affect the process.

    I think that the Pielke’s do not fit neatly into any of the boxes that many people get put into. Nonetheless, they are driving the politicization of climate science as much as anybody, despite their stated desire to do just the opposite.

    Comment by Dean — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:05 PM

  107. Re #53 note that the Exxon product involved is natural gas. For the sake of argument assume that this gas is burnt instead of coal exported from Australia. We get 6.5 times as much energy from a modern combined cycle gas plant than a coal plant per unit CO2 emitted, both from the higher hydrogen to carbon ratio in methane and the better efficiency in a gas turbine plant> Which plant would you rather have, assuming you need the electricity produce. This is called improving carbon efficiency of production. Actually if you look up decarbonization the process has been going on as we moved from wood to coal to oil to gas we get more energy per unit co2. One has to be careful of letting the best be the enemy of better.

    Comment by Lyle — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:06 PM

  108. Eric wrote:
    “I think that it is important that RealClimate get back to the science most of the time.”

    Please do.

    Comment by sidd — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:09 PM

  109. re: #22

    I’d like to know if there was ever a time when any field of science was not a bit “tribal.” It is a normal and natural state of affairs. Curry is just whining.

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:09 PM

  110. I think I would worry less about fair reporting, and more about reliability of the science.

    The data sources page is a great idea to start.

    Opening up the process and having researchers release all data, code and methods so reasonable skeptics can reproduce and examine results and methods without having to reproduce the work in total from scratch.

    Open the process up, open the science up, and let the reporting do as it will, the truth will eventually be arrived at and reported on. There will always be bad reporting, the best you can do is make sure there can be no doubt about the science, no controversy about methods and data sets.

    The e-mails reveal nothing about whether the science is correct or incorrect.

    What the e-mails reveal to me, the “context”, is a closed circle making it as hard as they possibly can within the law, or maybe even outside the law, for skeptics or others outside the circle to definitively check the work and conclusions.

    According to the e-mails it’s done out of fear of misrepresentation as a reason, and time/effort involved to properly document and release data, code and methods, and surely that is justified to an extent. Worrying about the press and bad reporting is natural.

    But that is not justification enough. This science is too important and the impact is likely to have too far reaching implications for those kinds of attitudes and practices.

    After all if all the data and methods are sound, and properly documented to allow for auditing, the end result will always be that it is correct and will eventually be reported as such by the majority of media.

    The only way to get rid of unreasonable skeptics, to have their credibility destroyed in the public eye and their effect minimized, is to be completely transparent at every single step of the scientific process and every single step of studies clearly presented. The antithesis of the attitude the e-mails present.

    Comment by John MacQueen — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  111. @101
    This is representative of the “denialist fringe”:
    “‘The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it.’”

    Comment by wildlifer — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:34 PM

  112. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Andy Revkin

    When I do have the opportunity to speak with scientists about reporters and/or reporters about scientists, I try to point out that it is very important to not just ask or answer a question, but rather to investigate the contexts involved and their relevance and address the relevance and underlying issues. The reality is ‘climate is very complex’ and it takes some work to assimilate the relationships involved and for those learning to get their heads wrapped around the issues. RealClimate does this better than just about anywhere else IMO.

    I am also very impressed with Rabbet and Skepticalscience and some of the video efforts in the past year. Nevertheless the communications issue remains confounded to a significant degree because we do not have a strategic mechanism to address the communication as yet. So we continue…

    The main problem in the media is that reporters, in general, often don’t have enough understanding to ask relevant questions regarding the context of a question or its answer and scientists often answer directly rather than being able to mind read the underlying premise of the issue (not the question).

    We need to ask and answer the issue, not the question, because the question often falls short.

    When a scientist is already making mistakes on context in addressing questions, relevance, issue and premise, then a reporter needs to know that… but how? I’d say look them up in the RC wiki first.

    That’s not so easy because some reporters don’t know. Andy does of course, but there is always the deadline problem. Andy, I recognize the difference between a blog piece and an article, but the ice is getting thinner (pun intended) and all involved need to be diligent to contextualize information so that the public begins to understand the issues better.

    We simply can’t afford to have balanced articles or even blog items that merely weigh one statement against another, when what we need is the truth.

    The reality is that as we move forward in time without relevant action, the solutions become increasing more difficult to accomplish and the economic costs (monetary and environmental) increase. Therefore, people actually need to understand climate, so that politicians can act on that understanding. Politicians are unfortunately tied to the votes they can get. I imagine that even if the understand AGW, they can’t do much until the public gets it, because if they get voted out, then they know they can’t do anything. This is part of the problem.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:42 PM

  113. Mesa (95) — For a nontechnical hisotry, read “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart, first link under the science links section of the sidebar. For a technical read, try Ray Pierrehumbert’s
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:51 PM

  114. At this point it seems pretty simple to me.

    Let there be a National debate or opportunity to present the case in full public tranparancey – headed by popular choices from each side.

    Comment by Michael Wright — 6 Dec 2009 @ 2:52 PM

  115. Phil, you’re misstating what the article says.
    You may have read someone’s commentary on it (putting the article URL into Google finds about 60 different blog comments referring to it right now, most of them denialarmist copypaste sites.

    The article doesn’t say the IPCC got it wrong.
    The article says someone in India says the IPCC got it wrong.
    The article is a story from India about an Indian claim.
    Lots of people in India claim there’s no problem right now.
    They’re at the raw edge here; look up subsidence in the same area, they’re running out of clean water. They are saying ‘no problem.’

    That’s the story.

    The head of the IPCC says the person in India is using ‘voodoo science’

    The IPCC works every five years with what it has available.
    Last time they used the information there was at the time.

    Now there’s more. Google Scholar, look for it. Like I did.

    I gave you an example showing it’s temperature — not rainfall — that’s melting the biggest Himalayan glacier, the one feeding the Ganges.

    If you expect temperature to rise, you can extrapolate.
    If you expect temperature to rise fast, the worst case is pretty bad.
    If you don’t think temperature will rise, you expect no problem.

    You can look this up for yourself.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:00 PM

  116. This may be off topic, but I am seeing it all over the place:

    I keep reading articles and posts which say the CRU “manipulated” data. But isn’t that what they are suppose to be doing? The CRU took crude, raw data and manipulated it into a useful form. There is nothing wrong with the CRU manipulating data – that is part of their job. The verb they should be using, if they are implying that something nefarious occurred, is “to doctor” with a big allegedly in front of it. And, no, I do not think the data were doctored.

    “To manipulate” can mean to skillfully handle the data or “to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose” with the latter definition having the synonym of “to doctor”. Maybe these writers are using the word “manipulate” to avoid having to include “allegedly” in their sentences and the future possibility of libel suits.

    Comment by Jason — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:01 PM

  117. Jeff Masters has posted another thoughtful discussion:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1394
    Don’t shoot the messenger

    Excerpt:
    The Wall Street Journal has long been at the forefront of the battle to discredit the science of climate change and the scientists involved, and last week they launched a major offensive, publishing multiple opinion pieces. I’ll critique one of these, a December 1 editorial by Bret Stephens which accuses climate scientists of having a vested interest in promoting alarmist views of the climate in order to get research funding. “All of them have been on the receiving end of climate change-related funding, so all of them must believe in the reality (and catastrophic imminence) of global warming just as a priest must believe in the existence of God”, Stephens wrote.

    The amazing editorial is a good description of what the WSJ (and a growing number of politicians and members of the public) really think about climate scientists.

    Comment by Jim Torson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:03 PM

  118. SBVOR (101),
    You are an archetypical example indeed.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:04 PM

  119. Another post that doesn’t want to talk about the elephant sitting squarely in the center of the room …. When it comes to issues of media bias or other bias, it always boils down to what is said and what is left UNSAID. Hence it is interesting that a Wigley 1997 paper is cited, but 2009 emails are not mentioned:

    “And the issue of with-holding data is still a hot potato, one that affects both you and Keith (and Mann). Yes, there are reasons—but many *good* scientists appear to be unsympathetic to these. The trouble here is that with-holding data looks like hiding something, and hiding means (in some eyes) that it is bogus science that is being hidden. ” – Tom Wigley, 2009, in an email to Dr Phil Jones
    see e.g.
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/climategate_which_one_blew_the_whistle/

    The question that remains unanswered: How can we believe ANYTHING you say if you won’t be 100% open in sharing ALL of what you really know?(*)

    (*) Not just all the data that makes the case stronger, but the data that makes it stronger, weaker, different, contradictory, etc… all of it, come what may.

    Comment by Patrick M. — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:06 PM

  120. > svbor

    I’d rate that at upwards of 90 percent, just speaking as an amateur reader of this stuff; most of it is recognizable from other sites making similar claims with similar advertising; the dozen cookies it tries to set are mostly, well, to be avoided. It’s a very dense site.

    The images need to be cited to an available source, so people can check the claims you make about what they illustrate.

    Of the papers you do point to, you should follow the cites forward in time. This should help:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/44/18431
    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/44/18443.abstract

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:11 PM

  121. # 85 greyfox – though I suspect it may be futile, here’s one attempt to explain what the email debacle means.

    For the last few years, “warmers” have tried to cast all skeptics as deniers – a pejorative label. Many centuries of scientists have recognized skepticism as a key ingredient of good science so this behavior by new kids on the block (climate scientists, modelers, et al) was not appreciated.

    The best explanation of the effects of the disclosure of emails containing seemingly falsified data, personal attacks, and apparent attempts at thought control of “scientific” papers can be found in a 5 page piece in Popular Mechanics by Professor Peter Kelemen – especially on page 3. (in case you don’t have Gavin’s link, here it is again:
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4338343.html

    I was taught that, when you work in a structured hierarchical environment, to “be nice to every one- if you don’t meet them on the way up, you will on the way down.” Many blogs, climate change included, ignore such teachings.

    So much for politics.

    With regard to your concerns about the dangers of Climate Change I believe you are right. However I watched “AGW” morph into Global Warning and then into Climate Change, allowing lots of latitude to most politicians and some scientists in their public pronouncements re Cap and Trade. There may be some published scientific work relating polar glacier destruction to AGW which I’ve missed, but it seems likely that CO2 lifetimes are too long and the oceans too deep for AGW to have had much effect so far. Think quantitatively.

    To repeat my comments in #81, I believe we should proceed with CO2 reduction, cap and trade if that’s the best we can come up with. But only because the risks of AGW contributing to Climate Change are too high to ignore and our global development capability for “green” technology solutions make it unnecessary to assume such risks.

    The political mistake was for some climate scientists to try to sell “cap and trade” on the basis of something called “settled science” or “scientific consensus”. This has come back to haunt them. Prof Kelemen makes this point much better than I do.

    Needless to say ALL the above is just my (I hope) humble opinion.

    John

    Comment by John Peter — 6 Dec 2009 @ 3:11 PM

  122. 27, Mike Roddy
    The internet and blogs are great, but limited. A serious media campaign- to include cable television and feature films- is called for. The hour is getting late.
    Absolutely agree.
    We all know that a huge propaganda battle is going on, and in my view scientists have to become ‘political’ and use all the media techniques to promote the scientific ‘truth’ of Global Warming.
    One has to remember that much media thrives on controversy – IT SELLS!!!
    I am UK based and a regular Daily Telegraph reader for my sins. Today they have 4-5 articles about AGW, including Christopher Booker who still chants out the old denier myths. They have an article about how much Steve Jones is ‘making’ out of grants to do his research, an article about 46% of the UK public not believing AGW and a double page analysis of Copenhagen etc.
    Also, in another article they used the old denier technique of pointing out, (sarcastically), how much carbon dioxide the Copenhagen summit would emit. Over the last few weeks, several of their other journalists, none at all scientists, have entered the CRU fray. I particularly switch off when their articles start with something like, “I am not a scientist but….. “ or “ I don’t know the whole facts but… “. This is true, I’m not making it up – one of their regular journalists, Simon Heffer actually trumpeted his belief in Libertarianism recently and then went on to criticise AGW.
    Yet they also have very factual articles by 2 of their environmental journalists.
    Re: the BBC, a year or 18 months ago, I recorded their series of programs, The Climate Wars – which showed the basic GW science, the worldwide evidence of GW and in a second episode, the ‘politics’. The presenter went to the Heartland Institute’s Manhattan bash in 2008 and interviewed many of the ‘named’ deniers. It even showed Roy Spencer admitting that he goofed over satellite data and Patrick Michaels saying publicly he believed in GW.
    I have tried to buy a DVD of this series – but the BBC haven’t issued it yet !!!
    Not very balanced in my opinion – certainly nowhere as quick as our Channel 4 issued TTGWS !.
    So Yes – get the propaganda gloves off and fight back.

    Comment by Clippo — 6 Dec 2009 @ 4:12 PM

  123. 27, Mike Roddy
    The internet and blogs are great, but limited. A serious media campaign- to include cable television and feature films- is called for. The hour is getting late.

    Absolutely agree.

    We all know that a huge propaganda battle is going on, and in my view scientists have to become ‘political’ and use all the media techniques to promote the scientific ‘truth’ of Global Warming.

    One has to remember that much media thrives on controversy – IT SELLS!!!
    I am UK based and a regular Daily Telegraph reader for my sins. Today they have 4-5 articles about AGW, including Christopher Booker who still chants out the old denier myths. They have an article about how much Steve Jones is ‘making’ out of grants to do his research, an article about 46% of the UK public not believing AGW and a double page analysis of Copenhagen etc.
    Also, in another article they used the old denier technique of pointing out, (sarcastically), how much carbon dioxide the Copenhagen summit would emit. Over the last few weeks, several of their other journalists, none at all scientists, have entered the CRU fray. I particularly switch off when their articles start with something like, “I am not a scientist but….. “ or “ I don’t know the whole facts but… “.

    This is true, I’m not making it up – one of their regular journalists, Simon Heffer actually trumpeted his belief in Libertarianism recently and then went on to criticise AGW.

    Yet they also have very factual articles by 2 of their environmental journalists.

    Re: the BBC, a year or 18 months ago, I recorded their series of programs, The Climate Wars – which showed the basic GW science, the worldwide evidence of GW and in a second episode, the ‘politics’. The presenter went to the Heartland Institute’s Manhattan bash in 2008 and interviewed many of the ‘named’ deniers. It even showed Roy Spencer admitting that he goofed over satellite data and Patrick Michaels saying publicly he believed in GW.

    I have tried to buy a DVD of this series – but the BBC haven’t issued it yet !!!

    Not very balanced in my opinion – certainly nowhere as quick as our Channel 4 issued TTGWS !.

    So Yes – get the propaganda gloves off and fight back.

    Comment by Clippo — 6 Dec 2009 @ 4:14 PM

  124. Mesa,

    Sure. If we came up with a new, more reliable record that showed no relation to the carbon dioxide level, that would be a serious blow to the theory–and along with it, physical chemistry, meteorology, and quantum physics.

    However, the correlation between NASA GISS temperature anomalies (not Hadley CRU) and ln CO2 is r = 0.87 for 1880-2007 (76% of variance accounted for). So that scenario isn’t very likely, is it?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 4:20 PM

  125. EL:
    Al-Gore and a some scientists did significant harm to progress on global warming because they turned the scientific discussion into a partisan political discussion. Instead of a science debate, the discussion is liberal vs conservative.

    BPL: Are you living beyond the Looking Glass? The people who turned this from a scientific issue into another screaming match between liberals and conservatives were people like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity. None of whom know d*ck about any science at all. At least Al Gore took a climatology class from Roger Revelle in the ’60s, which means he has taken at least one more course in the subject than they have.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Dec 2009 @ 4:22 PM

  126. SBVOR — all of it is standard anti-science clap trap.

    Comment by gator — 6 Dec 2009 @ 4:25 PM

  127. I much appreciate SecularAnimist’s point that subjectively extraordinary claims should not require a separate standard of proof.

    A couple of other assumptions in the original post have gone unexamined thus far. Firstly: a political scientist is still (putatively) a scientist. If it’s wrong for scientists in general to advocate or oppose policy recommendations, then it’s equally wrong for a political scientist.

    On the other hand, the dichotomy between knowledge and advocacy strikes me as superficial and misleading. With the case in point, when our knowledge indicates that human activities entail a strong risk of extreme hardship for future generations and life on earth, then the investigation and distribution of such knowledge is the purest form of enlightened advocacy.

    There is such a thing as advocacy without knowledge. Indeed, the raison d’etre of our corporate media seems to be the perpetuation of ignorance. But I can’t imagine knowledge without an implicit advocacy. As Rod Stewart said, every picture tells a story, don’t it?

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 6 Dec 2009 @ 4:43 PM

  128. EL #97:

    Al-Gore and a some scientists did significant harm to progress on global warming because they turned the scientific discussion into a partisan political discussion. Instead of a science debate, the discussion is liberal vs conservative. Some have even used global warming as a stage horse to obtain very liberal ideologies such as global government.

    This is very much a matter of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. We went through the exact same “this is trying to take away our rights” drivel with the tobacco and health war, and something not that different with the HIV denial war. In both cases, there were some who tried to keep it to the scientific arena. Those people were not in the denial camp. Close to 100% of the denial case in all three battles is political.

    Imagine for a moment if Al Gore hadn’t intervened. Where would we be now?

    The people being attacked politically (Hansen, Mann, Jones, Briffa to name some of the most prominent) are by and large not politicians. This world government meme is totally bonkers conspiracy theory. The nearest we have to that trend is the way the fossil fuel industry, an unelected power block, is manipulating government policy worldwide. That’s a much more scary prospect than a putative world government.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 6 Dec 2009 @ 5:13 PM

  129. Eric or Gavin:

    Would you like to comment on Michael Schlesinger’s email to Andy Revkin?
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/12/climate-scientist-threatens-boycott-of.html#comments
    Wherein he apparently says:
    “Andy:
    Copenhagen prostitutes?
    Climate prostitutes?

    Shame on you for this gutter reportage. This is the second time this week I have written you thereon, the first about giving space in your blog to the Pielkes.

    The vibe that I am getting from here, there and everywhere is that your reportage is very worrisome to most climate scientists. Of course, your blog is your blog. But, I sense that you are about to experience the ‘Big Cutoff’ from those of us who believe we can no longer trust you, me included. Emphasis added.

    Copenhagen prostitutes?
    Unbelievable and unacceptable.

    What are you doing and why?

    Michael”

    Do you really think that this type of threatening language is going to persuade people? Doesn’t such an email mirror the same hubris, arrogance and nastiness displayed in some of the CRU emails. It would be nice for once if someone at RealClimate condemned the Michael Schlesinger-type of boorishness.

    P.S. I do believe in Evolution though I have no idea what Evolution has to do with Climate Science.

    Comment by Bernie — 6 Dec 2009 @ 5:15 PM

  130. 56
    Raypierre notes that ” there is much more support for the possibilty of high climate sensitivity than there is for the possibility of very low climate sensitivity, but there are different ways to assess the confidence of these judgments, and it is a subject of pretty active research.”

    But in funding research their is a natural tendency for a feedback loop to arise from the linkage of proiorities to perceptions of policy consequences- the graver a parameter’s impact is thought to be , the greater the probability of further research on it being funded first.

    It follows that funding triage can result in early emphasis on corroborating the plausablity of worst case outcomes , since bureaucrats tend to amplify funding as perceptions of outcome severity grow, and to direct funds elsewhere if perceptions of worst-case severity stagnate or decline.

    Worst-case advocacy can accordingly run afoul of this crisis of rising expectations when , to “raise consciousness” , it focuses on furthering public perceptions of catastrophic modeling outcomes while glossing over how broad the whole spectrum of scenarios may be.

    But factoids are not just the worst-case outcome of science acceding to the use of different sets of facts for internal debate and public consumption- they can be created by how funding is timed- pursuing facts conducive to optimistic or pessimistic outcomes sequentially, can lead to statistical outliers gaining initial perceptual advantages that defy objective redress , because first perceptions are often the only ones advertised, or enshrined in popular culture.

    The disconnect between the uncertainty warnings in the IPCC reports and the images of absolute catastrophe propagated by advertising campaigns that draw on the executive summary mirrors what transpired a generation ago when precious few people save the authors actually read the three volume SCOPE ENUWAR report quantifying the environmental consequences of nuclear war. Just as executive summaries invite sermonizing , prolixity favors disinformation by burying information and uncertainty alike .

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 6 Dec 2009 @ 5:22 PM

  131. RE: 97

    EL, you speak truth and wisdom; traits the renewables fixers fail to include in their pitch.

    You said:

    “To make matters worse, many people are peddling snake oil in order to profit from fear. Technologies such as ethanol are completely and totally bullshit. There also exists many resource problems in various renewable technologies that are never ever discussed; instead, people just talk about how these technologies are magical solutions. Just about every single renewable technologies requires rare earth materials that may effect the scope in which the technologies can be used.”

    I know RC is not a post that can draw out the truth about the limited potential of wind, solar, electric vehicles, smart meters, reverse metering, etc. but the policy makers and public should be given the reality of those ‘solutions’.

    Believe me, I want all those and more mitigation options to trigger in soon and vigorously. But, the infrastructure and laws of physics and going to make some difficult, most limited and all too late.

    The more the world population sees how late and ill-equipped we all are to mitigate our way out of 3-4-5 degree temp increase in this century, the better the opportunities to ALSO focus on very aggressive adaptation and accommdation.

    John McCormick

    Comment by john McCormick — 6 Dec 2009 @ 5:24 PM

  132. I may have missed something, but ask for a clarification: is the “climate sensitivity” discussed here the temperature sensitivity per forcing, or per GHG concentration?

    [Response: it's always per forcing (in W/m2) but it is often scaled for 2xCO2 which is ~4W/m2. - gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:09 PM

  133. The useful role of a political scientist is to keep the focus on what really matters in a given situation, in this case which policies are going to be adopted. It now looks like the much awaited Copenhagen Conference is going to be a failure, producing nothing but some nice sounding but unenforceable statements of intent and memorandums of understanding. Likewise, it also looks like Cap and Trade is dead along with any chance of “green” legislation for this session. Since polls now show that the next Congress is going to be much more anti-cap and trade than this one, this means that the US is never going to adopt any cap and trade system and the world is never going to adopt any binding anti-co2 restrictions.

    And with those 2 realities, the game is now over. All the rest of the talking is just a lot of nothing – maybe it will get some people some tenure somewhere and give some grad students fodder for papers, but in the real world this issue is dead.

    Check out the recent action in the Australian Senate for confirmation.

    Comment by wws — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:12 PM

  134. Re SBVOR @101, I started reading through the material at your blog link. I only needed to get to the point where you note that atmospheric CO2 has steadily increased yet temperatures have been flat to down since 2002 as if this were evidence for a trend change in climate. That you seem to think that a period of not quite 8 years can describe an underlying climate trend tells us that you have no idea what the words “climate” and “scientifically rigorous” mean.

    That you make the fact that CO2 increase lags temperature in the ice core record–something everyone here is very well aware of–a cornerstone of your argument demonstrates that you have little if nay grasp of the ability of CO2 to act as both an amplifying feedback to the initial forcing and as a direct forcing, depending on the circumstances. In your historical overview you neglect to mention episodes (besides the present) where an increase in CH4 and CO2 in fact preceded an increase in temperature, such as the PETM and End-Permian. Why is that? Could it be that they are “inconvenient” to your argument?

    And you label the IPCC as being “incredibly dishonest.”

    Comment by Jim Eager — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:23 PM

  135. AGW seems to have fallen into a Black-Scholes. The rhetoric has gotten nastier and the whole shebang looks set to collapse. I would follow the Lanny Davis approach of tell it early, tell it straight, and apologize. I would also be really nice to the grad students/lab tech’s who have access to to the data–especially if you have been dating them on the sly. Give out a couple first authored papers here and there. Buy all the tech support people holiday presents. Double this for the physics geeks working in the basement. Thank the journalists for the coverage instead of calling them idiots.

    Comment by Neil Pelkey — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:23 PM

  136. SBVOR writes:

    “Do you count me among “the denialist fringe” commenting at Roger Pielke’s blog?”

    Yes.

    Comment by SteveF — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:30 PM

  137. I read that Michael Schlesinger has had something to say about RPJr’s appearance at DotEarth… via climate science’s favored means of self-immolation, email.

    Comment by Zer0th — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:32 PM

  138. I am curious about the implications of what’s set forth in “Runaway Climate Change, Boundary Conditions & Implications for Policy,” An Interim Report, By David Wasdell, available from,

    http://www.feasta.org/forum/files/inter … rt_153.pdf.

    In this report, its author states “… it now looks highly probable that the conditions for runaway climate change have already been met. Once that boundary has been crossed, there is only a small window of opportunity open to the global community to re-stabilise the system. Beyond that, it becomes impossible to halt and reverse the runaway condition.”

    I’d really like to know if this gentleman’s science is credible and if so, what his report means for climate science and for what might go on at or what we might expect from COP15 in Copenhagan this next two weeks

    Thank you.

    And double thanks to RC and its staff for doing a terrific job on this site! Your work is hugely appreciated.

    Comment by Sean Rooney — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:33 PM

  139. I think the so called Climategate email thievery will backfire on the real climate hoaxers. Resorting to such tactics and using private emails to make spurious allegations that all of the science is false at this particular time is transparent to obfuscate the facts.
    The desperation of the denialists is clear. They can’t measure up with their climate science so they make a soap opera out of the lives of a few real climate scientists to cast doubt on all of the climate science.

    Swiftboating a community of scientists? This should be fun!

    The blowback will be enormous. I suspect bringing climate change debate down to the level of thievery will have the same result as when Nixon was in power. The scandal will actually allow the real science to preponderate as these people reveal themselves to be what they are. To wit:
    http://climateprogress.org/2009/10/28/washington-post-mocks-inhofe-as-the-last-flat-earther/

    Comment by Tim Jones — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:35 PM

  140. Regarding “Honest Brokering:” If you ask him, RAPjr describes himself as an issue advocate, not an honest broker, with respect to most of the stuff he posts. The point he tries to make in his taxonomy is that he’s being open about his advocacy, whereas others are engaging in advocacy while pretending to be doing descriptive science. I’m not going to comment on whether these ad-hominem charges hold water, just to point out that he DOES NOT claim that he’s acting as an honest broker of policy alternatives.

    As he points out in his book (quite a good book whether or not you like his other work and commentary), the honest broker role is better suited to committees, rather than individuals, because it’s hard for an individual to sufficiently transcend his or her personal perspectives and political biases to do the job.

    Thus, it’s more fruitful to take on Roger’s claims that his work represents honest issue advocacy, whereas RC’s represents stealth issue advocacy, or perhaps to challenge his whole taxonomy of science policy.

    [Response: I don't necessarily take issue with his taxonomy - though 'advocacy' is ambiguous since it is implicit that anyone speaking in public is advocating for something, but what that might be is not defined anywhere. I've stated that I advocate for the proper appreciation of climate science and against it's abuse in political arguments, but RPJr has decided arbitrarily that this is somehow impossible and that I'm advocating for something else (also undefined). Maybe I'm naive, but I feel that education outside of classroom is still worthwhile. However, the objections to RP actions has bog all to do with issues, but his use of misrepresentation and insults to try and secure an exclusive spot in the public discourse i.e. "Those bad scientists can't be trusted to deal with policy ramifications - listen to me instead". This explains his exclusive focus on percieved errors by mainstream climate scientists, rather than the blatant lies put out by Morano, Drudge, Beck etc. - people who are significantly more influential than any of us. - gavin]

    Comment by Jonathan Gilligan — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:48 PM

  141. Re: 95
    Mesa wrote:
    “As a field theorist I would like an answer to my first post (#3) – are there any revisions to the temperature record, or any possible future temperature records that you believe would falsify the hypothesis that CO2 warming is a large, and potentially destabilizing threat to the planet?”

    As a “field theorist” I would think you could easily answer that question yourself. If the combination soil, ocean, and atmospheric global temperature dropped, on average over a significant period of time (e.g. 10 years), while CO2 levels remained high and there were no other (e.g. significant change in solar output or significant volcano activity) explanations, then clearly the current dominant theory of greenhouse gases would require changes.

    Of course, there’s a big difference between speculative fantasy events and probable events.

    Comment by Ken W — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:51 PM

  142. “2) Kindly tell me which part of the following presentation (overview and more detailed) you find to be representative of “the denialist fringe”?”
    “I’m just asking.”
    Comment by SBVOR — 6 December 2009 @ 1:40 PM

    Your implication that CO2 levels prior to evolution of mammals would be suitable to sustaining a modern society with a chart spanning 570 million years and the caption “…we’re really in a CO2 famine now.”
    Your creative editing of the temperature record in the second chart to remove the PETM spike which resulted in mass extinctions, your smoothing of the curves to hide correlation of changes in temperature with changes in CO2, and your selective omission of other factors that also drive temperature, like the dim young sun.
    Your cherrypicking of ” temperatures are flat to down since 2002.” in the discussion of the UAH curve chart. Perhaps you are willfully ignoring the fact that in 2002, UAH changed satellites and the temperatures since then show a strong annual component; this means that their algorithm to calculate the anomaly is incorrect.
    Your hypocritical use of tacking on the recent instrumental record to the Vostok core data in the 3rd graph without justification, while the rest of the blogosphere is screaming bloody murder about Briffa et al doing that same thing, except of course they have peer reviewed justification and multiple publications explaining what they did, why, what the implications are, and why more research is needed to resolve the issues.
    Your erroneous claim that “The latest warming is not even remotely unusual.” when the chart of GISP temperatures clearly shows only three previous peaks of comparable magnitude above the trend, 2 between 8.4 & 6.7 kybp, and one around 3.2 kybp which had considerably slower risetime.
    Your claim that the surface record from Box et al whose graphic you show may be “Potentially warm biased temperature measurements” which you support by a bait and switch to a paper by Klotzbach, Pielke, et al talking about potential bias in a totally different dataset.
    Your claim that “The latest warming is not even remotely unusual.” referencing a chart of Vostok temperatures showing abrupt rises ~140k and ~10k years ago, spuriously implying that such changes had no impact on prehistoric human cultural development and therefore show our 6.6 billion soul technology dependent modern socioeconomic system has nothing to worry about.

    I’m just saying.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 6 Dec 2009 @ 6:55 PM

  143. Re 95. “As a field theorist I would like an answer to my first post (#3) – are there any revisions to the temperature record, or any possible future temperature records that you believe would falsify the hypothesis that CO2 warming is a large, and potentially destabilizing threat to the planet? If there are, what specifically are they? If not how is this different from any other time wasting dogma?”
    Dr. Field Theorist, what measurements or changes to current measurements would invalidate current theory about the existence of the electron? What specifically? Be detailed, I’m sure you don’t want the appearance that you are hiding anything… As a field theorist you must be one of those on the public teat and therefore it is in your best interest to get rich off of public monies gotten by exploiting “field theory.” Have you ever said or written anything disparaging about string theorists?

    How is the above question different from other time wasting BS?

    Comment by gator — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:31 PM

  144. Hank

    Thanks for pointing that the article was reporting a claim

    It does however say that…

    “The IPCC relied on three documents to arrive at 2035 as the “outer year” for shrinkage of glaciers.
    They are: a 2005 World Wide Fund for Nature report on glaciers; a 1996 Unesco document on hydrology; and a 1999 news report in New Scientist.
    Incidentally, none of these documents have been reviewed by peer professionals, which is what the IPCC is mandated to be doing.
    Murari Lal, a climate expert who was one of the leading authors of the 2007 IPCC report, denied it had its facts wrong about melting Himalayan glaciers.
    But he admitted the report relied on non-peer reviewed – or ‘unpublished’ – documents when assessing the status of the glaciers.”

    So the use of non-peer reviewed papers does not appear to have been denied by the IPCC, or have I got that wrong as well :)

    Comment by phil cunningham — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:33 PM

  145. The rhetoric has gotten nastier and the whole shebang looks set to collapse.

    Scientific or engineering truth or validity is not whether it is nasty or not. The Germans and von Braun were thoroughly nasty, but they invented the best rockets in the world, which ultimately brought you the highest standard of security and protection (satellite weather forecasting for instance, and military surveillance) that the world has ever achieved. Nastiness isn’t even a quantifiable metric. You are imposing your values on nature and physics. And I hardly think carbon dioxide is going to naturally just precipitate out of the atmosphere of the planet Earth anytime soon.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 6 Dec 2009 @ 7:39 PM

  146. Judith Curry is being interviewed on the radio (NPR)
    December 6, 2009
    Host Guy Raz explores some of the fallout from the “climate-gate” e-mail hack with Dr. Judith Curry…
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121139996

    “… scientific locker-room talk … never intended to be made public”
    “… this is a blow to the credibility of our science …”
    “… trying to keep certain things out of the literature is a way of keeping them out of the IPCC Report. I don’t believe the scientists were intentionally cooking the data …”
    “… two classes of skeptics here. One is scientists who are actually doing work, and that’s the kind of skepticism we need…. another class of skeptics who get their talking points from talk radio ….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:16 PM

  147. The Germans lost. The point on Black-Scholes is they they had it right most of the time and the economic engineering behind it was quite solid, but they ran into a few clustered events that made their models look pretty bad. AGW, like Black-Scholes gets it right most of the time, but then clustered events such as a couple La Nina’s in a row, an NAO reversal, a particular particulate belch out of Alaska, and some snow feedback effects lead the indicators of warming take a nine year hiatus.

    As to quantifying nastiness you could read:

    The Devil Shift: Perceptions and Misperceptions of Opponents, Sabatier, Paul, Hunter, Susan, McLaughlin, Susan Political Research Quarterly 1987 40: 449-476.

    Comment by Neil Pelkey — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:48 PM

  148. Phil Cunningham — have you actually read the IPCC chapter?
    They did not have a lot to work with at the deadline for the last Report; they cited what they used, correctly. They have become more cautious and more conservative in what they cite with every Report, I think.

    Now I happened to point to a recent study on the glacier that feeds the Ganges above, that supports their concern (which, again, you should read in full, not rely on some guy on a blog telling you what it says).

    But here’s an excerpt. They said, and show the picture to support it:

    —–
    The 30.2 km long Gangotri glacier has been receding alarmingly in recent years (Figure 10.6). Between 1842 and 1935, the glacier was receding at an average of 7.3 m every year; the average rate of recession between 1985 and 2001 is about 23 m per year (Hasnain, 2002). The current trends of glacial melts suggest that the Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra and other rivers that criss-cross the northern Indian plain could likely become seasonal rivers in the near future as a consequence of climate change and could likely affect the economies in the region. Some other glaciers in Asia – such as glaciers shorter
    than 4 km length in the Tibetan Plateau – are projected to
    disappear and the glaciated areas located in the headwaters of
    the Changjiang River will likely decrease in area by more than
    60% (Shen et al., 2002).
    ——

    You can look this stuff up for yourself. I post suggestions mostly for kids who come here who haven’t learned how to use their own libraries, with the encouragement to _go_look_it_up_ and think it through, not rely on something on a blog.

    So I pasted the obvious search terms into Google and it pops right up on the first page of results. You want pp. 493-494.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter10.pdf

    Page down to the end of the chapter to find the references in full; paste those into Google Scholar and see what subsequent papers have cited them to do the catch-up reading.

    

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2009 @ 8:52 PM

  149. I would still like to know why the tree ring data is considered good only when it fits certain criteria but the years when it shows a decline are ‘not trustable’? Instead of being thrown out only the data that is ‘good’ was kept, and other data was tacked on to the end of it. How is this even remotely legitimate science? If you only keep the data you prefer, you don’t have data, rather you have inputs that you know before hand will conform to the outcome you want.

    In response to my post #23: Who can be fair in this debate? Can anyone be fair any more, or are both sides so entrenched that anyone that wades into these waters only has the pro-warming and non-warming rafts to hold on to and anyone other than those ordained by you allowed to speak?

    Anyway, I still would like to know why the Medieval Warm Period didn’t cause the permafrost to release massive amounts of methane? Why have the last few years not been as hot as predicted? Why can’t the GFS or other models predict short term temperatures to within a degree, yet we are to believe that it will be 3° warmer in 90 years? Most weather models can’t get a handle on things until about 12 hours out and even then they don’t always get the temperatures right? Why should I trust a 90 year model then?

    All in all I’m just a curious person that has read all the angles and honestly believes that both sides are just playing with numbers to show what they want to show. This probably won’t get published here, but I would appreciate it if you would post it. Kind Regards. :)

    Comment by DB — 6 Dec 2009 @ 9:37 PM

  150. I’m sure many readers have seen this, but Dara O’Briain has some comments on media ‘balance’.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIaV8swc-fo

    Comment by KenH — 6 Dec 2009 @ 9:47 PM

  151. Revkin and the NYT stab science in the back yet again:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/07/science/earth/07climate.html

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 6 Dec 2009 @ 10:16 PM

  152. Phil C at 144. This is called “grasping at straws.” Read the IPCC report, then read the WWF report which was compiled as a review article from work by scientific institutes in India, Nepal and China. The article contains tables, graphs and more than 200 references. One thing it does contain is the number “2035″ and it does not contain “2350″.

    Now, does the fact that the IPCC authors used this article as reference material change the fact that the glaciers are in fact melting? Does the fact that you let yourself get worked up by a blog report of a claim by someone who is wrong on at least one key claim mean anything?

    BTW, better expand your conspiracy — it’s not just the evil “hockey stick team” plus UEA — that chapter 10 was authored entirely by Asians! From Iran to China to India to Japan to the Philipines, they’re all part of the world-wide conspiracy to raise taxes in the US and the EU!

    [Response: Well put. It would be awfully nice -- really really nice -- if mainstream journalists would point out the ridiculousness of this too.--eric]

    Comment by gator — 6 Dec 2009 @ 11:54 PM

  153. AGW, like Black-Scholes gets it right most of the time, but then clustered events such as a couple La Nina’s in a row, an NAO reversal, a particular particulate belch out of Alaska, and some snow feedback effects lead the indicators of warming take a nine year hiatus.

    Well, except that climate science has never claimed that AGW will overwhelm La Nina, a NAO reversal, a volcanic belch out of Alaska, etc.

    Which makes this an empty statement.

    Nothing unexpected by any of those things.

    Comment by dhogaza — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:34 AM

  154. I would still like to know why the tree ring data is considered good only when it fits certain criteria but the years when it shows a decline are ‘not trustable’? Instead of being thrown out only the data that is ‘good’ was kept, and other data was tacked on to the end of it. How is this even remotely legitimate science?

    Because the tree ring data fits with other proxy data very well, and also with about 2/3 of the instrument record.

    This leads to a suspicion that whatever’s causing the divergence today is unique – because best evidence says it didn’t happen before.

    And, of course, the notion that you can find trees at their altitudinal and latitudinal range extremes where growth is limited by late summer maximum temperatures is based entirely on knowledge of plant physiology which is entirely unrelated to AGW or paleoclimate reconstructions in the first place (plant physiology tends to focus on how to best grow plants, i.e. traditionally it’s been part of ag science, helping us to eat cheap rather than spawning black helicopter one-world commie government plots like climate science (that’s sarcasm, BTW)).

    Comment by dhogaza — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:38 AM

  155. I am confused by the assertion that a changed instrumental temperature record would not change future temperature predictions. My understanding is that GCMs are calibrated based on the instrumental temperature records over the past ~150 years, such as the CRU and GISS series. Suppose, hypothetically, that those records were changed to show, say, only half as much warming over the calibration period. Are you saying that the future temperature predictions of the re-calibrated GCMs would hardly change? Or are you saying that there simply are no values for GCM model parameters which would fit the hypothetical lower temperature rise?

    Comment by David Wright — 7 Dec 2009 @ 1:23 AM

  156. “This explains his exclusive focus on percieved errors by mainstream climate scientists, rather than the blatant lies put out by Morano, Drudge, Beck etc. – people who are significantly more influential than any of us. – gavin”

    I think you have an unjustified inferiority complex. When I consider reports that Goldman-Sachs is itching to get into the $1 trillion cap-and-trade market, and all of the money that private investors and Congress and governments and investors world wide are putting into green energy, climate mediation, etc., and much of that comes down to your work (and claims) and the works and claims of the IPCC and others for many many years.

    I’d say you folks are winning and winning handily and that you folks have proven way way way more influential than Drudge and Beck and the rest. And good for you!

    It’s one of the reasons why I am appalled at the pettiness I see around here. Perhaps that’s explained by that unjustified inferiority complex. That you are winning and that Goldman-Sachs and others think this is worth trillions of dollars and there are laws, regulations and day to day life changing based on your efforts, is one major reason why I think not only that the public, but even your critics, should be treated by you folks with a respect that I haven’t seen.

    I went to a science and engineering school where most of the professors came from the Manhattan Project. Part of the curriculum, and many sessions between professors and students in the dorms were to speak of the roles between scientist and engineer and society. Boy oh boy, do I think you guys come out badly, just horribly, on that regard. Cf: Cargo Cult Science and integrity.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 7 Dec 2009 @ 1:51 AM

  157. hank, gator, eric

    I am not an expert on climate and don’t pretend that I ever will be. As such I reply on the media and internet for information. The BBC was reporting what look like errors in the IPCC, I came here to find what you thought. Now I know and I appreciate the information.

    Gator – while your information was helpful, the patronising tone was not required.

    Comment by phil cunningham — 7 Dec 2009 @ 3:49 AM

  158. “Take the BBC. They receive money from the government ”

    Only for the overseas service. All the UK broadcasting, including the web site, is paid for by the TV license fees and by the sale of books, DVDs, etc.

    The license fee is basically the same as the license fee you pay to use Windows on your computer.

    Comment by Don Cox — 7 Dec 2009 @ 6:04 AM

  159. DB #149

    I would still like to know why the tree ring data is considered good only when it fits certain criteria but the years when it shows a decline are ‘not trustable’?

    One specific kind of tree ring data (not every kind, there are other studies that don’t have this problem) lines up with many other lines of evidence, except for recent decades, when it doesn’t. In recent decades, we have thermometers, so we don’t need to measure tree rings to estimate temperature. We don’t really need them to estimate paleoclimate either because we have other measures like oxygen isotope-based sediment studies, but tree rings help to identify regional variations where you don’t have sediments. What’s more you have multiple kinds of tree ring.

    So what would you do if this one kind of measure that looks reliable over a period of 1,000 years, but not for the last few decades? Drop it completely? Use it where it fits well with other measures? Use it with proper caveats?

    Turn this question around now. If you know the science is fundamentally sound and are trying to undermine public confidence in the science, what do you do? Answer: pick an inconsequential anomaly that has no impact on the overall theory, and bash on it in the hope that the uninformed public will not know you are talking rubbish.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 7 Dec 2009 @ 6:26 AM

  160. You are talking about media balance and why presenting dissenting views isn’t necessarily balance. Fair enough.

    But at realclimate.org I think you frequently “respond” to claims or posts from wattsupwiththat and climateaudit.

    I notice that these “skeptic” sites *do* provide links to realclimate. (Well strictly speaking the climateaudit site does, but the new mirror site as of a week or so ago doesn’t provide links to any sites, skeptical or otherwise).

    Is there any specific reason why you don’t provide links to their sites?

    Thanks
    Steve

    Comment by Steve Carson — 7 Dec 2009 @ 6:56 AM

  161. Marco said ‘and so far it looks like all they can see is wall effects’
    Well Marco I dont know if you have ever built or commissioned a piece of measurement kit – I have (several and NAMAS approved) and I cant recall any that performed the intended measurements from the off. Methinks your zeal for your complete understanding of the factors involved in climate change is blinding you to an honest effort to fill in some gaps. CLOUD is an experiment which, once fully commissioned, will hopefully provide details of a mechanism small, large or insignificant. It once took me 18 months of testing and design modification of kit to produce measurements within NAMAS spec. Computer models are easy in comparison ( I’ve done some of those too). Give the guys a chance why dont you. (rhetorical)

    Comment by harry? — 7 Dec 2009 @ 7:43 AM

  162. DB, most of your points are common questions that have been discussed frequently on this forum. Try the sidebar links to the science, or just keep reading back threads. Briefly (and from a non-expert):

    [. . .why the Medieval Warm Period didn’t cause the permafrost to release massive amounts of methane?]

    Best indications are that it wasn’t a globally homogenous event–that is, it wasn’t warm everywhere at once. Moreover, it likely wasn’t as warm as today on average.

    [Why have the last few years not been as hot as predicted?]

    Short answer: they have. Although there is not clear evidence of a warming (or cooling!) trend over the first years of the millenium, every year since 2000 has been one of the top ten warmest in the instrumental record. These levels are quite consistent with model predictions. Anyway, how warm do you want it to be?

    In any case, a ten-year span is considered too short to have any real significance in climatic terms.

    [ Why can’t the GFS or other models predict short term temperatures to within a degree, yet we are to believe that it will be 3° warmer in 90 years?]

    Law of large numbers. Weather is chaotic, climate is not. For example, you yourself as a layman will be able to accurately predict the average winter temperature for your city just by looking at the records of past winters, but if you predict, say, New Year’s day’s temperature, you will be lucky to even get close.

    Climate modeling is much more complicated, of course, but because we are dealing with average conditions there is much better predictability than is the case for specific conditions at specific places on specific dates.

    No offence, but when you ask such basic questions and then say:

    “I’m just a curious person that has read all the angles and honestly believes that both sides are just playing with numbers to show what they want to show.”

    you kind of undercut your own credibility. Obviously, you have yet to read many of “the angles,” or you wouldn’t be asking these questions. (I assume you are not a “troll,” who pretends ignorance as part of a strategy to provoke.)

    It’s also not the height of courtesy, IMHO, to conclude with “this probably won’t get published here.” In point of fact, these questions get asked here fairly frequently; that’s part of RC’s educational function. Sincere questioning is received helpfully, in my experience.

    Kind regards yourself, and hope this helps.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Dec 2009 @ 8:23 AM

  163. Thanks for your lengthy and thoughtful response to my post. As usual, RC is a class act in every way. I would have let the matter drop except for a column in this morning’s paper, by Geo. Will, which reaches new heights (or depths) of insulting calumny (the kind of word he loves to use). Read it…I’m sure it’s everywhere. I quote: “Some climate scientists compound their delusions of intellectual adequacy with messiah complexes. They seem to suppose themselves a small clerisy entrusted with the most urgent truth ever discovered; on it, and hence on them, the planet’s fate depends….” and on to beat the (not) dead horse of the e-mail debacle. Another descriptor: “…intellectual arrogance of the authors of climate-change models…” segueing into the $$$ issue of what it would cost to fix things. And again: “Skeptics about the shrill certitudes concerning catastrophic man-made warming…”…there is lots more, but this one caught my eye as well: “Actually, never in peacetime history has the government-media-academic complex been in such sustained propagandistic lockstep about any subject”. Complex? News to me. Most of the media is significantly neutral or even hostile to the idea of global warming, and just how the three elements conjoin in some Kafkaesque conspiracy begs laughter, if only Mr. Will didn’t exert his own brand of influence. These insulting comments, published across the country, demean science, demean the notion of objective research, the mountains of research, the ever-growing mountains…well, Mr. Will is piqued. If it were someone else, I would say mad as hell, but in his case, the other word is more appropriate. He isn’t interested in the data any more; he, (like the other op-ed writer I alluded to in an earlier post), has seized on the e-mail issue as THE smoking gun.
    You wish to return to science discussions here; I totally understand. You raise many of the other issues (arable land, water resources, population overshoot, etc etc all of which are true and each affects the whole and each other…) that, I guess, precludes talking about climate change as the singular issue worthy of a dystopian future. At least, I think that’s what you meant. I know the other issues exist…each has to be addressed (including the most difficult one: population, the gorilla in the living room, which most folks shy away from as though it were a vial of Ebola)…but here, we are talking about climate. That is the blog’s rationale for existence. And…we have reached a watershed in the attempt to get the public and policy makers to understand what is going on. The reason that this is so crucial is time. We are swiftly running out of time. Time to ameliorate, time to get the engines of correction up and running, time to deal with the myriad other issues in order to get the time to deal with climate…
    And we have Mr. Will. Personally, he’s merely a face for the growing group of people who are unwilling to actually look at the numbers and evidence, who are unwilling to understand statistical analysis, who have socio-political axes to grind (and grind them they do). He (and they) will stop you in your tracks, merely by delay. This is the battle.
    I had cancer five years ago. Major surgery and several months radiation later, I’m alive and have a probable chance of living a normal life span. I had people tell me that the diagnosis might be wrong, that surgery was a big risk, that I should take the chance that everything was fine…you know, doctors just want to make money. Turns out I was riddled with cancer, and it had spilled out…hence the radiation. I was lucky; we caught it just in time. My point is obvious, and Mr. Will, for all his arm waving and character attacks, should be able to parse this out…we have a pretty strong diagnosis here. Very, very strong. So strong, that my own (and the absolute vast majority of scientists)opinion is that we have to act NOW. Just like my own personal history, delay would have literally killed me.
    For us to have something resembling a decent future, and to have one for our children, we can’t decide it’s too difficult or messy or off-task to engage the Wills of the world. I know you find this uncomfortable and not at all why you got your training, but it is what it is. When I got the news from my doctor, I had to stop in my tracks and make real choices that could not be put off. No matter what else I thought I ought to be doing. And so should you. (In a friendly way…I hope you understand…I support you 100%).

    Comment by greyfox — 7 Dec 2009 @ 9:44 AM

  164. May I ask a favour from the readers? Could you please backtrack a little and focus on the conversation between phil cunningham and Hank Roberts in comments numbered #82, #86, #89, #115, #144 and #148. gator and eric contribute further comments at #152. To me, it speaks volumes about the attitudes of people on one side of the debate.

    The issue is a recent BBC report on whether the IPCC 2007 report contained any errors regarding Himalayan glaciers and the how it came to cause a ‘confusion’ in the media and what the IPCC did about it. Excerpts:


    Himalayan glaciers melting deadline ‘a mistake’

    The UN panel on climate change warning that Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035 is wildly inaccurate, an academic says.

    J Graham Cogley, a professor at Ontario Trent University, says he believes the UN authors got the date from an earlier report wrong by more than 300 years.

    He is astonished they “misread 2350 as 2035″. The authors deny the claims.

    …….

    Mr Cogley says it is astonishing that none of the 10 authors of the 2007 IPCC report could spot the error and “misread 2350 as 2035″.

    “I do suggest that the glaciological community might consider advising the IPCC about ways to avoid such egregious errors as the 2035 versus 2350 confusion in the future,” says Mr Cogley.

    ……….

    The IPCC relied on three documents to arrive at 2035 as the “outer year” for shrinkage of glaciers.

    They are: a 2005 World Wide Fund for Nature report on glaciers; a 1996 Unesco document on hydrology; and a 1999 news report in New Scientist.

    Incidentally, none of these documents have been reviewed by peer professionals, which is what the IPCC is mandated to be doing.

    ……………..

    Michael Zemp from the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich also said the IPCC statement on Himalayan glaciers had caused “some major confusion in the media”.

    “Under strict consideration of the IPCC rules, it should actually not have been published as it is not based on a sound scientific reference.
    …….

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8387737.stm

    Meanwhile, there is no sign of any confusion at all in a Times Online report published on the same day that BBC reported confusion:


    The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in 2007 that they could disappear by 2035, causing famine, water wars and hundreds of millions of climate change refugees.

    The problem is that because of their inaccessibility, there is still not enough systematic scientific data to prove the melting is caused by climate change, allowing naysayers including, as of last month, India’s own Environment Ministry, to deny that the glaciers are retreating abnormally fast.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/copenhagen/article6945249.ece

    How long has it been since the IPCC 2007 report, and who is to blame for this ridiculous ‘confusion’?

    Comment by sHx — 7 Dec 2009 @ 9:51 AM

  165. [NOTE TO MODS: LOL. Impish apologies for my share of the confusion. I'm still bad at with my blockquotes and italics. So here is the Take Two]

    May I ask a favour from the readers? Could you please backtrack a little and focus on the conversation between phil cunningham and Hank Roberts in comments numbered #82, #86, #89, #115, #144 and #148. gator and eric contribute further comments at #152. To me, it speaks volumes about the attitudes of people on one side of the debate.

    The issue is a recent BBC report on whether the IPCC 2007 report contained any errors regarding Himalayan glaciers and the how it came to cause a ‘confusion’ in the media and what the IPCC did about it. Excerpts:

    “Himalayan glaciers melting deadline ‘a mistake’

    The UN panel on climate change warning that Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035 is wildly inaccurate, an academic says.

    J Graham Cogley, a professor at Ontario Trent University, says he believes the UN authors got the date from an earlier report wrong by more than 300 years.

    He is astonished they “misread 2350 as 2035″. The authors deny the claims.
    …….

    Mr Cogley says it is astonishing that none of the 10 authors of the 2007 IPCC report could spot the error and “misread 2350 as 2035″.

    “I do suggest that the glaciological community might consider advising the IPCC about ways to avoid such egregious errors as the 2035 versus 2350 confusion in the future,” says Mr Cogley.
    ……….

    The IPCC relied on three documents to arrive at 2035 as the “outer year” for shrinkage of glaciers.

    They are: a 2005 World Wide Fund for Nature report on glaciers; a 1996 Unesco document on hydrology; and a 1999 news report in New Scientist.

    Incidentally, none of these documents have been reviewed by peer professionals, which is what the IPCC is mandated to be doing.
    ……………..

    Michael Zemp from the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich also said the IPCC statement on Himalayan glaciers had caused “some major confusion in the media”.

    “Under strict consideration of the IPCC rules, it should actually not have been published as it is not based on a sound scientific reference.
    …….”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8387737.stm

    Meanwhile, there is no sign of any confusion at all in a Times Online report published on the same day that BBC reported confusion:

    “The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in 2007 that they could disappear by 2035, causing famine, water wars and hundreds of millions of climate change refugees.

    The problem is that because of their inaccessibility, there is still not enough systematic scientific data to prove the melting is caused by climate change, allowing naysayers including, as of last month, India’s own Environment Ministry, to deny that the glaciers are retreating abnormally fast.
    …”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/copenhagen/article6945249.ece

    How long has it been since the IPCC 2007 report, and who is to blame for this ridiculous confusion?

    Comment by sHx — 7 Dec 2009 @ 10:02 AM

  166. Note to Pielke Sr.

    When are you going to put a disclaimer on you Lyman et. al blog post that states that the paper showing global warming was retracted due to instrumental errors?

    Most people would agree that refusing to retract that is highly deceptive, especially since you are encouraging journalists to use your blog as a reliable source of scientific information.

    Note to Pielke Jr.

    Doesn’t your affiliation with the Rockefeller-sponsored “Breakthrough Institute” front group indicate that you are just another API “media scientist”?

    “The Breakthrough Institute was founded on the premise that the complaint-based, interest group liberalism born in the 1960s and 1970s is failing to achieve the broad social and ecological transformations America and the world need.”

    I’m not sure how they intend to convince the Rockefeller Trust to drop their Chevron and Exxon investments and instead move that money into renewables, however – but then, that’s not exactly their objective, is it?

    Ever read about the “parachutists” in the old Soviet sy
    stem, Pielke Sr. & Pielke Jr.?

    Eventually, a Russian wrote a novel about the scientific life under the Soviet System: White Robes, or Robed in White by Vladimir Dudintsev.

    His fundamental point rings very true today in many American scientific circles – although it’s not considered polite to discuss it – that would be a betrayal of academic collegial rules. The following discussion was pulled off a Russian server; White Robes has never been translated into English in the West.

    Quote:
    “White Clothes” also contains the idea of “parachutists”, described by Dudintsev this way:

    “People thrown from the destroyed world into the conditions of Soviet reality. Entrepreneurs and egoists in their souls, they looked around and saw that here, too, it was possible to live if they accepted the new “rules of the game”. And hiding their true nature they began to shout along with everyone else, “Long live the world revolution!” Masking their insincerity, they shouted louder and more expressively than others so that they quickly rose to the top, occupied leading posts and began to struggle for their own personal, comfortable lifestyle.”

    “According to Dudintsev, this is why gray-haired academics supported Lysenko and gave the leadership the needed “scientific” conclusions; and this is why, says Dudintsev, “ministers built not what was needed by the people, but that which did not contradict their personal interests.” To Dudintsev it is obvious that the ecological disasters around the Aral Sea, the Volga, and Lake Ladoga are the work of the “parachutists”.

    Clearly, second-rate scientists can find political patronage in the form of Daniel Inhofe and similar figures and so can make a name for themselves, despite the complete lack of citations, right? It’s called corporate Lysenkoism, and it’s the dominant theme on U.S. academic campuses these days.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 7 Dec 2009 @ 10:14 AM

  167. So much for calling McIntyre a sceptic. As I said in another thread yesterday the truth is stranger than fiction.

    “While McKitrick said he’s dubious about the threat of climate change, and thinks his research has helped cast doubt on such fears, McIntyre – despite the demonization of him by his opponents – said he really doesn’t know what to think.

    I honestly don’t know whether it is a big problem, a little problem or a medium problem,” he said. “And I don’t think the skeptics have proven that global warming is not a problem.”

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/Climate+dissenters+vilified/2307733/story.html?id=2307733

    Comment by Jimbo — 7 Dec 2009 @ 10:16 AM

  168. Re: 149
    “I would still like to know why the tree ring data is considered good only when it fits certain criteria but the years when it shows a decline are ‘not trustable’?”

    I’m not familiar with the specific reconstruction Jones was referencing, or the purpose of his chart (though it doesn’t appear to have been anything for peer review). But I do know that atmospheric changes in our modern era require adjustments for many measurements (e.g. Carbon Dating requires special adjustments for objects that lived since the 1890′s when industrial emissions became vast).
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Hockey-stick-without-tree-rings.html

    “I still would like to know why the Medieval Warm Period didn’t cause the permafrost to release massive amounts of methane?”

    Regional, not global in extent.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period.htm

    “Why have the last few years not been as hot as predicted?”

    Predicted by who? And predicted when? We are still clearly on a long-term trend that is climbing between 0.15 and 0.19C per decade. Those people that claim it’s been cooling since 1998, are either deceptive or simply don’t understand the process of trending.

    Don’t confuse the surface temperature with all the heat trapped on our planet by greenhouse gases.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling.htm

    “Why can’t the GFS or other models predict short term temperatures to within a degree, yet we are to believe that it will be 3° warmer in 90 years?”

    Because weather is NOT = climate. Weather is very short-term and chaotic, climate is the average of weather over long periods of time (e.g. 30 years is how the WMO defines it).
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/weather-forecasts-vs-climate-models-predictions.htm

    Comment by Ken W — 7 Dec 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  169. The Germans lost.

    What did they lose, exactly? Germany seems fine today to me. They’re make some first rate scientific instruments.

    As to quantifying nastiness you could read:

    Not a chance, I want YOU to quantify nastiness, right here and now, using SI units.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 7 Dec 2009 @ 10:30 AM

  170. It is Graham Cogley a glaciologist, Trent University who dug up the source of the error. In the community we have recognized the problem with the demise of the Himalayan glacier by 2035 statement. This number is not referred to in the report on Glaciers and ice sheets, where it would have been caught, but in a regional section of the report. The importance of these glaciers to hydropower today and going forward is huge. They are retreating significantly.
    In 2005 the Tehri Dam was finished on the Bhagirathi River, it is a 2400 mw facility that began producing hydropower in 2006. The headwaters of the Bhagirathi River is the Gangotri and Khatling Glacier, Garhwal Himalaya. Gangotri Glacier has retreated 1 km in the last 30 years, and with an area of 286 km2 provides up to 190 m3/second of runoff.(Singh et. al., 2006). The Zemu Glacier has a similar story, and I could go on and on. Zemu-hydropower
    Nepal is beginning to turn to hydropower, with run of river hydropower development on the glacier fed Arun River opening in 2003. The Arun River has a large number of glacially dammed lakes resulting form glacier retreat.

    Comment by mauri pelto — 7 Dec 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  171. 151
    Tenney Naumer says:
    6 December 2009 at 10:16 PM

    “Revkin and the NYT stab science in the back yet again:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/07/science/earth/07climate.html

    Seems like a fairly balanced article to me. You seem to have a problem about it not being biased enough to your dogma.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 7 Dec 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  172. “I’ve stated that I advocate for the proper appreciation of climate science and against it’s abuse in political arguments, but RPJr has decided arbitrarily that this is somehow impossible and that I’m advocating for something else (also undefined). Maybe I’m naive, but I feel that education outside of classroom is still worthwhile”

    Only you know if this is true Gavin. The only thing the rest of the rest of us can judge you on are your actions, not just your words. When you choose to appear with a group of blatant political operatives who clearly advocate Keynesian-type economic policy, it is not “arbitrary” that some might conclude that you concur with their policy recommendations. Clearly, the fact that a particular political action group is willing to sponsor your appearance serves as compelling evidence that *they* themselves have made the judgement that you will help bolster their political advocacy. Gavin, surely you are not so naive as to fail to realize that when you appear in these types of forums, your claim to political neutrality is compromised (fairly or unfairly). You can’t bash Limbaugh or however, then appear on a platform with the other side of the political spectrum, and still maintain your claim to political indifference. That will not fly with the public. You have willingly offered yourself as a public intellectual on the issue of climate change, and like it or not, it is high time you wisen up about how to operate effectively in this arena.

    P.S. please post this comment, and I would sincerely appreciate a serious response

    Thanks, Bryan

    [Response: I don't see the contradiction here. First, the fact that any particular group likes what RC has to say doesn't say anything about RC's politics. Second, Limbaugh (for example) abuses science in political arguments and if any of us have 'bashed' him, that is the only reason why. Third, this post -- by me, not Gavin -- is complaining about someone who is identified as a liberal by most! Fourth, I'm aware of nothing negative we've said about any conservatives -- or anyone else -- who present the science honestly. As for us being naive: yes, clearly we are naive. It never occurred to us -- or at least not to me -- that so many people were so intellectually bankrupt that they would resort to the tactics they are using now.--eric]

    –eric]

    Comment by Bryan S — 7 Dec 2009 @ 10:49 AM

  173. Just above, finally, a pointer to the glacier confusion source:
    mauri pelto says: 7 December 2009 at 10:31 AM

    > … Graham Cogley a glaciologist, Trent University who dug up the source
    > of the error. In the community we have recognized the problem with the
    > demise of the Himalayan glacier by 2035 statement. This number is not
    > referred to in the report on Glaciers and ice sheets, where it would
    > have been caught, but in a regional section of the report.

    I’m just repeating Mauri’s post to ask if there’s a link/pointer to this history in something published, for reference.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Dec 2009 @ 11:20 AM

  174. Mike Roddy #88, Sorry I missed our reply. The IPCC should put it in their job description. This idea of not dignifying the liars with a response is not working.

    I like your idea of an article but much more needs to take place as you indicate in your comments as well. I don’t know the answer, but a thorough debunking in one offline place, like a book, would be helpful. Of course the deniers will immediately respond with their junk science reply. So the real science book needs to be strong. Concrete answers but also honesty about uncertainties. I really wish the television media would also begin to take on the liars for hire at these rightwing thinktanks too instead of forever giving them a pass.

    RC is a good place to talk about the nitty gritty of climate change, math, codes and all, the individual trees but maybe a sister site is called or that takes on the deniers and posts more than once a week. The forest. After all RC is “climate science for climate scientists”. The talent is out there for a sister site, e.g. Desmogblog. People that post here, like Hank Roberts etc.

    In the end, though, will it make a difference?

    Comment by Ron R. — 7 Dec 2009 @ 11:44 AM

  175. An “official” sister site would have the side benefit of allowing this site to restrict their discussions to the actual details of the science rather than battling the same big questions over and over again. If someone posts a generalistic comment on global warming you just send them an auto note to post it on the other site. Time saved.

    Comment by Ron R. — 7 Dec 2009 @ 11:59 AM

  176. re: 164. Oh brother. You are sorely confused about the difference between politics and science. And yes, the article is poor. Science is not conducted in the manner you seem to think it is. Never has been. Try actually reading the peer-reviewed journals to learn something.

    Comment by Dan — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  177. Re: 160

    “So much for calling McIntyre a sceptic. As I said in another thread yesterday the truth is stranger than fiction.

    “While McKitrick said he’s dubious about the threat of climate change, and thinks his research has helped cast doubt on such fears, McIntyre – despite the demonization of him by his opponents – said he really doesn’t know what to think.”

    I tend to agree. I have never seen McIntyre as a skeptic, or pushing some alternate theory, just as someone who wants to check the math and methods for correctness.

    I also agree with Judith Curry…

    “What McIntyre has done is elevate the level of statistical analysis used in constructing the paleo temperature record.”

    I think it’s disappointing he had to jump so many hurdles to be able to do so.

    I also believe we need to do a couple of things in public policy.

    1) Spend a lot more money on this science in the form of instrumentation and research. Too much is yet unknown.

    2) Reconstruct the past records and science in an open and transparent manner to clear up any sloppiness or cut corners in the past due to lack of funding and resources. Audit the records, audit the stations, allow the mathematicians and other sciences open access to properly documented methods and data to help clean up the doubt and ambiguity.

    I think that if anything should be the #1 policy priority.

    Comment by John MacQueen — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:23 PM

  178. Richard Steckis writes:

    “Seems like a fairly balanced article to me.”

    Let’s take a closer look (for the benefit of everyone):

    Revkin: “The Climatic Research Unit’s role as a central aggregator of temperature and other climate data has also made it a target. One widely discussed file extracted from the unit’s computers, presumed to be the log of a researcher named Ian Harris, recorded his years of frustration in trying to make sense of disparate data and described procedures — or “fudge factors,” as he called them — used by scientists to eliminate known sources of error. ”

    Very odd characterization, considering such test code wasn’t used in any reconstruction. Reality:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/quote_mining_code.php

    Revkin:”In recent days, an array of scientists and policy makers have said that nothing so far disclosed — the correspondence and documents include references by prominent climate scientists to deleting potentially embarrassing e-mail messages, keeping papers by competing scientists from publication and making adjustments in research data — undercuts decades of peer-reviewed science.”

    Lots of innuendo here.

    - The reference to deleting emails was a single email from one scientist, done in frustration to being overwhelmed with frivolous FOI requests. No mention of this in Revkin’s article.

    - The “keeping papers by competing scientists…” refers to scientists expressing their opinions to a journal where contrarians were gaming the system by sending their work directly to skeptical editors. No mention of this in Revkin’s article.

    - “making adjustments in research data” – given that this is in the context of all these other sinister charges, the reader might conclude these adjustments discussed are unwarranted and dishonest. The proper context could be found if Revkin bothered to read the responses from scientists most familiar with the email discussions. He doesn’t appear to be inclined to do this.

    Revkin:”The debate, set off by the circulation of several thousand files and e-mail messages stolen from one of the world’s foremost climate research institutes, has led some who oppose limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and at least one influential country, Saudi Arabia, to question the scientific basis for the Copenhagen talks. ”

    Does Revkin naively believe that a Saudi politician’s view on climate science is a result of stolen emails? At the very least, that’s quite an assumption – one that further hypes up the incident.

    Also see Arthur Smith’s comment #24. He summarizes a common problem with mainstream media’s characterization of climate science.

    [Response: Yeah, some context would be nice. And the idea that Saudi Arabia has suddenly seen the light on the basis of one email, and was previously all about science is well... just a tiny bit hard to believe.--eric]

    Comment by MarkB — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:23 PM

  179. Name one decent retirement (government, union or personal) account that does not include Exxon in the portfolio. All this whining about Exxon is worthless tripe.
    Exxon employs hundreds of thousands of people
    Exxon employees pay LOTS of taxes the government sorely needs
    Exxon pays taxes the government sorely needs
    Retirement accounts money when withdrawn pays taxes at the going rate – Exxon investments going up increases portfolio value and government wins
    Exxon gasoline is taxed in each state on a per gallon basis – imagine the state budgets without this tax.

    So let’s stop bashing a company that helps fuel our benevolent governments every wish and desire.

    Comment by john — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:34 PM

  180. John@173, How does Exx-Mob’s importance in the economy change the physics of greenhouse gasses? How does it change the fact that when Exx-Mob pays to fund character assassination of scientists and even overrules its on scientists on matters of scientists that it is being at best unwise and quite possibly mendacious?

    The evidence is the evidence. It doesn’t change because we don’t like it. It doesn’t change because some scientists aren’t “nice”. Ignoring the evidence is denialism.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  181. Well, personal attacks are once again outnumbering thoughtful criticism about 10:1, and the criticism is 10:1 off topic. I do wonder why we bother reading the comments section at all.

    I think the statement from Pershing (State Department deputy special envoy on climate change), cited by Revkin (here) sums things up pretty nicely:

    My sense about the climate emails … is that they have released a barrage of additional information which makes clear the robustness of the science, the multitude, the enormous multitude of different strands of evidence that support the urgency and the severity of the problem, that have been managed in multiple places around the world. What I think is unfortunate, and in fact shameful, is the way some scientists who’ve devoted their lives are being pilloried in the press without due regard to process.

    Comments now closed on this post.

    Comment by eric — 7 Dec 2009 @ 12:48 PM

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