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  1. Thanks for mentioning the Kamel matter. That’s the last article by Pearce I’ve read. The fact Pearce could not seem to understand why Kamel’s paper was not published– even though Pearce himself mentioned Kamel included no analysis or data– left my head spinning.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 23 Feb 2010 @ 7:59 PM

  2. For amusement and for an example of the lack of standards being talked about, look at the response of Bjornsson et al to the Douglass, Patel and Knox paper

    I’d be happy to, but it doesn’t appear that I can – the article in questions seems to be locked up behind the AGU ‘subscribe or buy’ firewall!

    [Response: That is unfortunate. I wish AGU would open up it's archives after a couple of year like AMS does. However, there is a copy here. - gavin]

    Comment by Bill Doyle — 23 Feb 2010 @ 8:03 PM

  3. LOL. Finally someone takes an honest look at the CRU emails and this is all you can come up with? I find it ironic that this article actually reinforces one of the biggest issues that the CRU emails highlight. i.e. the active suppression of ideas and opinions contrary to the status quo in the climate debate by the ‘establishment.’

    Thanks again RC for validating yet another skeptic argument. Keep up the good work!

    [Response: You might think that 'honest' means writing something that you like, but I prefer to stick to the more traditional definition. I make absolutely no apologies for correcting things that are wrong - gavin]

    Comment by cbone — 23 Feb 2010 @ 8:11 PM

  4. Particularly like the section on peer review, so often misunderstood.

    Only recently discovered this blog, but it’s good stuff!

    Comment by James Hayton — 23 Feb 2010 @ 8:21 PM

  5. Nice work Gavin, well done.

    Comment by David Horton — 23 Feb 2010 @ 8:27 PM

  6. My head is spinning. This unfortunately will add to the noise level and detract from the signal. That seems to be the modus operand since the EAU CRU hack began.

    The science is on solid ground but lost in the noise propagated by fools and brigands.


    The Climate Lobby
    Understand the Issue
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 23 Feb 2010 @ 8:28 PM

  7. I googled Douglas Keenan’ name and found his website:

    http://www.informath.org/

    His short list of “peer reviewed publications” looks suspicious on the surface and there is no indication of undergrad or grad degrees to support his scientific expertise. Interestingly, with regard to bona fides, he says only:

    “About the author: I used to do mathematical research and financial trading on Wall Street and in the City of London; I now study independently.”

    With these prestigious scientific credentials, how can anything he writes be taken seriously by a major newspaper?

    Comment by Doug — 23 Feb 2010 @ 8:41 PM

  8. You do know the politics behind this Fred Pearce flare-up, right? Probably you do.

    Pachauri rubbed Pearce the wrong way and pissed him off during the Glaciergate fiasco. Pearce, who thought himself to be ‘one of the boys’ then vowed revenge. So you have what you have. Nothing ‘puzzling’.

    I wish RealClimate would stay out of this arena. You guys are so behind the game, seriously.

    Everything in climate change will burn for the next two months or so – with the cap-and-cap bill in play. Things will cool down afterward.

    Regards
    Anand

    Comment by Anand — 23 Feb 2010 @ 8:44 PM

  9. The latest Honolulu Magazine has an editorial decrying the evils of “climate-gate”. It has it all, email conspiracies, all the data is missing, abusing the peer-review process, refusing FOI requests, and of course, “hiding the decline.” You can read it here:
    http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/February-2010/May-Cooler-Heads-Prevail/

    Comment by JoeB — 23 Feb 2010 @ 8:49 PM

  10. Readers need to see that peer review is not some kind of imprimatur or mark of infallibility; rather it is a screening process to try to get better papers through and leave not as good papers out. Interesting new claims that make a plausible argument can get into print, but are subject to response, criticism and rebuttal. None of this means the journal was wrong to have published the original paper if it advanced the discussion; its topic may have been an open question at the time, and has only later turned into a “closed question” after better work supercedes it.
    The public seem to prefer the idea that everything that gets past peer review should be ‘right.’ If it were that simple, then finding a single article to support a particular point of view would “prove” that it is “right.” Things are not that simple; instead, we have to read the full range of what’s been published on a topic, and see if an earlier article has been either supported and built upon, or challenged, corrected, or simply left to obscurity, uncited and overshadowed by later and better work.
    As Gavin rightly says, the big challenge for journals is to limit input to goo quality work that is at least plausible, reasonably arguable, and pertinent. Not every work is right for every journal, so rejection can just mean “doesn’t fit here, but might be right for somewhere else.” As for the substandard papers that got through peer-review, the first cost to scholars is that there’s always too much to read, and they count on journal editors to select worthy efforts that warrant the reader’s investment of time.
    Contrarians putting forward articles that question long-accepted fundamentals are asking a lot of both editors and readers. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, but many times fail to deliver as much. When editors turn down such presumptuous efforts, it isn’t a ‘conspiracy’, it’s them doing what readers expect from them – it’s their job.

    Comment by Jim Prall — 23 Feb 2010 @ 8:53 PM

  11. Top ten ways to handle a smear campaign.

    6. The More Compelling Your Arguments Are, The Nastier the Attacks Will Be If critics can refute your evidence or your logic, then that’s what they will do and it will be very effective. However, if you have made a powerful case and there aren’t any obvious weaknesses in it, your adversaries are likely to misrepresent what you have said and throw lots of mud at you. What else are they going to do when the evidence is against them?

    This kind of behavior contrasts sharply with what one is accustomed to in academia, where well-crafted arguments are usually treated with respect, even by those who disagree with them. In the academic world, the better your arguments are, the more likely it is that critics will deal with them fairly. But if you are in a very public spat about a controversial issue like gay marriage or abortion or gun control, a solid and well-documented argument will probably attract more scurrilous attacks than a flimsy argument that is easily refuted. So be prepared.
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/02/22/on_grabbing_the_third_rail

    Do not get to much distracted by the denialist puppets. Soon they will be silenced.

    Comment by prokaryote — 23 Feb 2010 @ 9:05 PM

  12. Finally something that really helps me in my Internet arguments with the “deniers” over these questions.

    Thanks.

    Comment by John — 23 Feb 2010 @ 9:24 PM

  13. They are pandering to the weaknesses of their readership. It is very difficult to ponder the colossal enormity of the climate changes ahead. This is an existentialist threat that few care to look at directly.

    Thank you for demanding that at least they follow their own professional guidelines.

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 23 Feb 2010 @ 9:24 PM

  14. “More recently Keenan, who contacted Wigley after having seen the email mentioned in the Pearce story, came to realise that Wigley was not in agreement with his unjustified allegations of ‘fraud’. In response, Keenan replied (in an email dated Jan 10, 2010) that:

    .. this has encouraged me to check a few of your publications: some are so incompetent that they seem to be criminally negligent.

    Sincerely, Doug ”

    Oddly enough, it’s not in Fred Pearce’s piece, which reads like a supermarket tabloid.

    As a side note, Doug Keenan sounds like a massive tool.

    Comment by MarkB — 23 Feb 2010 @ 9:25 PM

  15. Gavin, I like your blog and I like this particular comment. Will you send it to the Guardian and see what they say?

    I am reminded of Crewdson’s coverage of HIV, and the fact that he made as many mistakes as the scientists made whom he was writing about.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 23 Feb 2010 @ 9:31 PM

  16. I’m going to try to forget that I ever read “With speed and violence” by Fred Pearce.

    What is to be done about this situation? Scientists clearly do not have the authority to do anything. Due to the First Amendment, nobody else does either. Suggestions? I can’t think of any right now that do not take a generation or longer to carry out. I would like to greatly strengthen public education, especially in the sciences and math.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 23 Feb 2010 @ 9:46 PM

  17. I’m guessing that you are going to reject this Gavin, but it clear as can be why even old, leftist friends like the Guardian are now turning on climate scientists. It doesn’t have to do with the validity of the theory of anthroplogical global warming, that validity is independant of the actions of scientists. So, even though what I consider professional mistakes were made, I don’t think much of the Guardian article either.

    That said, I would argue that the action of the media is a natural reaction to red flags that they see. IMHO, the Guardian is reporting like I’ve seen it report on other subjects for years; it’s only now that your ox is being gored.

    I’m not arguing that the standards of scientific reporting are good. Indeed, even magazines like Scientific American, which use to be stellar, have lowered their standards tremendously. Rather, I’m arguing that the “circle the wagons” approach as opposed to an honest assesment of the problems inherent in trying to both be advocates for political action and scientific researches in a field that is strongly related to said action is connected to the behavior of reporters.

    Let me focus on the behavior within the CDC that bothers me the most: the discarding of the raw data set compiled by the CDC. Let me do it by asking a couple of questions. How hard would it be to independently duplicate the raw data set the CDC disposed of? Is it something that could be done in days by, say, Dr. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground; is it something that a university with a team of 3 profs and 5 grad students could assemble in a few months, or was it a fairly rare and hard to obtain set of data? And, finally, what good scientific reason is there to dispose of raw data? I was taught that raw data is more precious than diamonds….and to guard it with my life. Is climate science different from physics in this regard, and if so, why?

    Is it the amount of data? Are there really multiple petabytes of raw climate data in the discarded data base, even after compression? I’ve done some back of the envelope calculations (not guaranteed to better than a factor of 10) and came up with a number that’s far short of 1 petabyte. So, why get rid of diamonds?

    I’d argue that a simple “we blew it, we were worried about X, so we discarded the data” would be very helpful….especially if X is something like “we might be legally required to break trust with folks we promised we wouldn’t reveal their data, and once that trust is broken, we’ll never get data from them on anything again.”

    Comment by Dan M. — 23 Feb 2010 @ 9:59 PM

  18. “The public seem to prefer the idea that everything that gets past peer review should be ‘right.’ ”

    The sad thing is that the IPCC invoke this idea among the public.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 23 Feb 2010 @ 10:02 PM

  19. This is a shame because there is a lot of good material in the series. With the CRU debacle the bottom line is that there is no there there. I’m with 11 – let it die. And do some more cool posts on science! Science rules and this silliness shall pass.

    Comment by AndyB — 23 Feb 2010 @ 10:09 PM

  20. @11: I was about to post the same link to Walt’s piece. Well worth reading and it’ snot just his point 6 but all of them.

    Comment by Stephan Lewandowsky — 23 Feb 2010 @ 10:20 PM

  21. brilliant work, as ever, Gavin.

    cbone in #3 nicely demonstrating Dunning-Kruger in full effect; it really is everywhere.

    Comment by Justin Wood — 23 Feb 2010 @ 10:38 PM

  22. I disagree with Anand (#8). This detailed de-construction of errors in The Guardian’s articles is very helpful. Thanks for the yoeman’s work you are doing on this topic Gavin.

    Comment by Chris McGrath — 23 Feb 2010 @ 11:14 PM

  23. cbone says: 23 February 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Thanks again RC for validating yet another skeptic argument.

    You’re not skeptical about the validation?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 23 Feb 2010 @ 11:35 PM

  24. The denialosphere will remain strident and belicose for some time to come but will eventually wear thin and then out as the resolution of the science gets much better and physical evidence piles up.

    We are at or near the peak of the media war’s intensity right now. Its death will take another decade but it is built-in, inevitable, a sure outcome. The physics and the chemistry just keep doing what they do and we know what that is. AR5 should be a blockbuster.

    Keep up the good fight but don’t lose perspective!

    Comment by Sean Rooney — 23 Feb 2010 @ 11:39 PM

  25. in a very short YouTube clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uiZYl9cxtc) we see our Fred Pearce cooking up an idiot’s guide to global warming with a delightful young devotee, and at one point he slips and says “sell” which he immediately corrects to “give” (I never heard of him before today so I hope I have got the right fellow, but I think so)

    another issue might be that he figgures he can absorb all that it takes in 24 hours (?)

    or that Wikipedia includes this: “Fred is one of the few people that understand the world as it really is” – James Lovelock; and if there were any stronger argument for heavily discounting the man I can’t just think of it right now

    so … Anand’s question is a good one and I hope you respond, because this post seems to me to be slightly ‘off’, you have put a lot of words together, 3,000+ by my count, no mean feat, but to what purpose? the guy is an obvious lightweight of a certain age, at best a competent tradesman, his job is to write & sell copy, ditto for The Guardian, their job is to sell papers or internet advertising and such like … fish wrap

    I looked closely at the comments on a recent New York Times article, and was delighted to see the readers generally trashing the denialist author, sorry to have lost the link, but I say this to suggest that the battle for the common sense of citizens is being won, not won yet, but being won, I also find this among my small circle of red-neck friends and acquaintances

    if the IPCC reports were concise, or straightforward, or unconfused, or let’s say ‘otherwise than they are’ we might not have these problems of communication – do you think?

    when Copenhagen crashed and I picked myself up off the floor with Buddhist resignation, I began to think that what is REALLY needed is a concise, straighforward, and unconfused account of the science behind global climate change

    you may say that such accounts abound – but truely, I have not seen one, the closest were maybe Mark Lynas’ Six Degrees, and David Archer’s Global Warming Understanding the Forecast, but they both fall into the ‘close but no cigar’ category, and I say this having read many, dozens, from Tim Flannery to James Hansen (from Jesus to Jack Daniels, as they say)

    I guess you have to decide if you are going to be a media critic or a scientist, and if you plump for critic then I suggest looking at Noam Chomsky for some at least quasi-scientific techniques

    so … as usual a visit to your site has clarified my thinking (such as it is), keep it up, be well, David Wilson.

    Comment by David Wilson — 23 Feb 2010 @ 11:44 PM

  26. *Very* nice work, Gavin.

    Erratum: It looks like the last sentence of the eighth paragraph under Part 6 should refer to Briffa rather than Cook.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 23 Feb 2010 @ 11:45 PM

  27. Journalists are starting to take note of the deep seated ignorance and hatred that poor reporting has unleashed. I guess it’s fun to bash climate science a litte bit until things get out of hand….

    Leonard Pitts (columnist for the Miami Herald) – Facts No Longer Mean What They Used To
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/02/21/1492484/facts-no-longer-mean-what-they.html

    Andrew Revkin (NY Times Dot Earth) – “Back to the Basics” (a primer on climate science)
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/

    NPR – Belief in Climate Change Hinges on Worldview
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124008307

    Comment by Andy — 23 Feb 2010 @ 11:48 PM

  28. Gavin
    Part3
    you said:” … the discussions had nothing to do with the medieval warm period, but rather the amount of multi-decadal variability in the three different reconstructions then available. This was corrected in the online edition, but the description of the dispute in the article is still very confused.”

    Briffa, correctly quoted:
    “I believe that the recent warmth
    was probably matched about 1000 years ago”

    Comment by Anne — 23 Feb 2010 @ 11:50 PM

  29. This is all really disheartening. I am currently studying environmental science but am starting to wonder what is the point? People dont care for the truth and where is it getting us anyway? Anyone with half a brain and does a bit of research can see that these headlines are baseless crap, but if know ones cares then why should we?

    Gavin and the rest of the crew here, I take my hat off to you all. You have done a great job and I know a lot of us are greatful for your efforts.

    Comment by Luke — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:05 AM

  30. Give’m hell Gavin. A decade ago I got dragged through a dishonest and disgusting newspaper smear myself.

    Killing the messenger is one of the business community’s dirtiest tricks when the environment gets in the way of making money.

    For you to have taken up the cause to stand up for your colleagues the way you have is quite courageous. It’s incredibly valuable to those of us counting on you guys on the leading edge of climate research.

    We have a saying among the folks I have affinity for. “We stand for what we stand on, and we stand on what we stand for.”

    What you’re doing is important and greatly appreciated.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:10 AM

  31. In case it has not already been mentioned here…

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/233942

    Sharon Begley
    Book Review: The Lomborg Deception
    Debunking the claims of the climate-change skeptic.

    Comment by AlC — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:43 AM

  32. “Soon they will be silenced?”

    How, when and with what?

    Comment by Pete H. — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:07 AM

  33. So what……
    you’ll continue this debate , oh the actuall item may change , but the same debate.

    How ‘s about working on the solution?

    Comment by dbaker — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:07 AM

  34. prokaryote #11, this eukaryote is grateful for your link!

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:28 AM

  35. “Confidentially I now need a hard and if required extensive case for rejecting [an unnamed paper] to ­support Dave Stahle’s and really as soon as you can.”

    This statement looks very bad to me and I can’t see any way that it can be justified. I’m a research scientist, although not in climate science (but in the life sciences), and regularly review papers for scientific journals. I have never been instructed by an editor as to what to write in a review. The editors job is to send out the paper to experts in the field to get their feedback – not to express their own opinions to the reviewer – surely this compromises the independence of the review process. It doesn’t matter at what stage we are talking – if the editor wants more feedback, is unhappy with a review or the reviewers have conflicting opinions, as often happens, then the editor is quite entitled to send the manuscript out to another reviewer. However he/she should not instruct a reviewer what to write. Ultimately it is the editors choice whether to publish or not, not the reviewers. It is essential that the review process is independent, and this is how it’s always been carried out in my experience.

    I be deeply concerned if I receved the above comment, no matter how well I knew the editor.

    [Response: Of course it is the editors decision. But without any context this statement is meaningless. I have often been asked to make sure that if I am advising that a paper be rejected that the reasoning be 'hard and extensive' - mostly for the benefit of the authors and to ensure that the rejection is not being done on spurious grounds. If this is a resubmission then the editor is likely to have a good idea of whether the revisions are likely to satisfy the reviewers, but no reviewer is going to recommend rejection of a paper that they actually like - regardless of what the editor asked. This doesn't sound like a case where there was much conflict among the reviewers and so your examples don't fit. However, the fragmentary nature of these emails, and the fact that people (including me) are mainly just speculating about the context makes any strident moralising pointless. Using these examples to smear people by insinuation is not good journalism. - gavin]

    Comment by wallruss — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:31 AM

  36. Wow.

    Best smackdown of bullcrap ‘science journalism’ EVER.

    I am posting it EVERYWHERE.

    Thanks.

    Comment by anony — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:39 AM

  37. Many thanks for this article, and all the other important work Realclimate does. With regard to your latest piece here, it’s important to expose the myth that the Guardian is any kind of flagship newspaper for climate reporting or the environment (or social justice or peace). See the latest media alert from Media Lens which is indebted to much of your excellent recent debunking of media distortions on climate: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/10/100222_gates_of_delusion.php

    At the end of the above media alert, note what the corporate media – including the Guardian and the BBC and Channel 4 News – regularly fails to put under scrutiny…

    For a wider perspective on *why* the media is like this, please see our books, ‘Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media’ (2006) and ‘Newspeak in the 21st Century’ (2009), both published by Pluto Books in London. See also our archive of media alerts at: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/archive.php

    Keep up the excellent work.

    David Cromwell
    Co-Editor, Media Lens
    http://www.medialens.org

    Comment by David Cromwell — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:46 AM

  38. cbone (3):

    Opinions and ideas contrary to the *facts* do not count. That applies both to the climate debate and journalism.

    Comment by Molnar — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:06 AM

  39. Gavin,
    Your replies to Pearce on the Guardian website were worthy of Huxley in as Darwin’s bulldog. A Black Knight Award (of Monty Python and the Holy Grail) goes to Pearce–dismembed and thinking it is only a flesh wound.

    Comment by David Graves — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:08 AM

  40. 3 cheers for 1 thru 11 above. Especially 8, 10 and 11. Can anybody on our side do a “follow the money” investigation? It could prove interesting. It seems that Fred Pearce has changed sides. Will that be noticed by the public?

    “All publicity is good publicity” is not right but may turn out to be not wrong either. Some big climate event, like a 2010 drought in some particular US farm belt, could turn the tables. All that bad journalism is at least making the public aware that there are climate scientists who are issuing warnings. What we really “Need” is a non-ignorable climate event to convince people. To be non-ignorable, it has to happen in the US, it has to cost a lot and it has to seem sudden and unexpected. What most people expect is for the climate to be completely different suddenly, as a year with no winter: 90 degree weather for the entire winter. They are saying: “When is it going to happen?”

    I just posted the following on http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/01/rosegate_david_rose_caught_mis.php
    See: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/the-guardian-disappoints/

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:12 AM

  41. U.S. Stands Out For Climate-Change Skepticism
    http://planetark.org/wen/56857
    Date: 24-Feb-10
    Author: Ed Stoddard – Analysis
    DALLAS – Many Americans are skeptical about global
    warming and that makes it harder to get a bill through
    Congress.
    [...]

    Many of the same Americans don’t believe humans evolved
    from apes. They’re right. They haven’t evolved a bit.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:21 AM

  42. Question: has the full Wigley/Jones/Keenan correspondence, including the above character evidence against Keenan, been submitted to the investigation? It should be.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:22 AM

  43. It’s rather funny to read that Pearce papers are ” well below the normal Guardian standards of reporting.”, as if the normal standard of reporting were being very accurate and reliable. “Normal standard” of journalism is sensationalism and inaccuracy, and it is true for “alarming” reports as well. You seem to DISCOVER that journalists write more to attract readers and sell their newspapers than to establish scientific truth, but it has always been true ! The problem is that the warming speech has benefitted a lot of this alarmism in the past years, and that a large number of misconceptions , approximations, and exaggerations, even by a number of posters here, have been forged by alarmist reports in the medias. In this regards, climate scientists are punished by where they have sinned….

    Comment by Gilles — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:56 AM

  44. #11: “This kind of behavior contrasts sharply with what one is accustomed to in academia, where well-crafted arguments are usually treated with respect, even by those who disagree with them. In the academic world, the better your arguments are, the more likely it is that critics will deal with them fairly.”

    I agree, and this has long been a problem that we haven’t fully engaged with – perhaps because, up until AGW was identified as a major problem, it wasn’t necessary. Never before have we faced such a concerted anti-science campaign using such base smear tactics and outright lies to appeal to popular opinion.

    Science has for years had its popular magazines like New Scientist, but perhaps something additional is required: a team of writers able to present key climatological findings in an honest, non-sensationalised way in a style that makes them readily understandable to the lay person. It can be difficult (I know as I have done geological interpretation jobs), but by no means impossible.

    What I have in mind is, say, a key paper is published: the writing team then prepares a draft public interpretation, then, critically, the original authors of the technical paper review it to make sure that it IS honest and non-sensationalistic, any corrections are done and it is then circulated to all media. One could even hope for reproduction verbatim, although to expect that everywhere would probably be a little ambitious!

    If my numbers came up in the lottery, I would offer funds to help get such a Foundation established!

    Cheers – John

    Comment by John Mason — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:58 AM

  45. Doug @ 7 Ad-hominems should be avoided; it shouldn’t matter if Keenan has little or no scientific background, what should matter is the quality of his arguments. If no flaw can be found in an argument, it should be taken seriously, regardless of the source.

    [Response: But once you see that his 'argument' - "I disagree with you, therefore you are engaging in criminal fraud" - is always the same, and always devoid of actual evidence, I think you can safely neglect most of the noise emanating from that corner. - gavin]

    Comment by Dikran Marsupial — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:38 AM

  46. I disagree with Anand (#8): more than ever, we need RealClimate to answer the nonsense, and I’m really really happy to see you doing so. I’m afraid a lot of scientists are underestimating the damage that this smear campaign will do to action on climate change. This won’t “go away” if we keep quiet. It’s not a fair fight.

    Comment by Juliette — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:38 AM

  47. Seen in a wider context the debate about “climate change” can been seen as evidence of a general trend, that is, a move away from “rationality” and “science” in public discourse, and towards the twin evils of superstition, “religion”, and faith in the irrational, which increasingly appears to characterise our society.

    This trajectory has little to do with the science involved, but is mostly connected with a fundamental shift in the way society functions as a whole. In short it reflects the breakdown of the intellectual paradigm we call “the enlightenment.”

    Across the board, rationality itself is under attack, nad not just in the field of science, though one could mention, in passing, the attack on Darwin and evolutionary theories in this context.

    One could also mention Iraq, where the arguments and logic of “witchcraft” were employed vigorously in a propaganda offensive designed to disguise a conspiracy to launch a war of agression to gain access to and control of, Iraq’s oil reserves.

    It’s important to understand the value of propaganda in public debate. Propaganda functions as a powerful weapon designed to undermine perspectives that dare to questions the fundamental structures of how wealth and power are distributed in society, under the system known as “state capitalism” or “market democracy.”

    Once the science of “globale warming” began to question the economic power relationships in global society, well, obviously, it was asking for trouble, and a “counter-attack” was only to be expected; which is precisely what we are seeing today.

    Comment by Michael K — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:42 AM

  48. Well any one that is intrested in “Kamel”s thoughts could check out his “Science blog”

    in Swedish: http://www.metrobloggen.se/jsp/public/index.jsp?article=19.3558216

    To be trusted…!?!?

    Comment by Magnus W — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:46 AM

  49. “Prior therefore to declaring that “evidence, flawed though it might be, is actively being kept out of the journals” it behoves Pearce to actually find such evidence. Otherwise, the simple non-appearance of these mythical critiques is apparently proof of the corruption of the peer review process.”

    This reminds me of Carl Sagans story of the invisible dragon in the garage. The fact that you could not see it or touch it is clearly proof that it’s magical.

    Regarding the Douglass comment that I published with a few coworkers that you mention (see open link at
    http://andvari.vedur.is/~halldor/PICKUP/2005GL023793.pdf), – this was in many respects a total waste of time. The papers premiss was clearly (to anyone who knows anything about geology) about as reasonable as an invisible dragon in a garage. It wasted my time, and then when Douglass & co replied to the comment they misquoted us and then claimed that our “point was moot”. – GRL did not allow me to see their reply before it was published and did not bother to check that we were correctly quoted. I did not bother to pursue this further because I felt that their nonsense had been corrected.

    However, the “your point is moot” counter argument is a great one to use if you’ve been cornered.

    Halldór

    Comment by Halldór Björnsson — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:46 AM

  50. Kamels says it all really…

    Comment by Magnus W — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:51 AM

  51. Pearce’s behaviour is slightly odd. The piece on the Chinese weather stations for example was supposedly partly based on the leaked emails and contains a clear accusation of malpractice against Jones and others – “climategate” writ large in fact. But this seems to be in contradiction with a piece he had written previously with the headline “How the ‘climategate’ scandal is bogus and based on climate sceptics’ lies” which contains the passage

    Almost all the media and political discussion about the hacked climate emails has been based on brief soundbites publicised by professional sceptics and their blogs. In many cases, these have been taken out of context and twisted to mean something they were never intended to.

    So it seems that Pearce had a rather dramatic change of heart on the subject of “climategate”. And how long did this take? Well the piece alleging malpractice based on evidence in the hacked emails was posted on the Guardian website at 21:00 on 1st February, whereas the piece claiming that the “climategate” scandal was bogus was posted at , er, 18:04 on the same day, less than three hours earlier.

    [Response: Maybe I should have also mentioned that piece above. In it, Pearce is actually correct - most of the discussions about the emails have been based on nothing but out-of-context quotes and the criticisms evaporate on close examination. But as you say, the odd thing is that he is repeating the exact same pattern in the pieces discussed above. - gavin]

    Comment by andrew adams — 24 Feb 2010 @ 4:12 AM

  52. Attacking science with gossip is like trying to kill an elephant with a paintball gun.

    All the confusion, mud slinging, accusations and gossip will not refute even a single paper. To realise this, it would just take a little effort to learn the basics about what science is and how it is done. Few people take this effort, making them vulnerable to the manipulations by those that want to delay climate change mitigation efforts for whatever reason. “Take my word for it, that red-green-yellow-blue animal is no elephant. Elephants are gray!”

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 24 Feb 2010 @ 4:19 AM

  53. I wouldn’t be too hard on Kamels.

    When he refers to “these klimathotstroendes unwillingness to rethink their faith in light of new forskningrön”, I think he really has a point.

    Comment by Rohan — 24 Feb 2010 @ 4:30 AM

  54. I feel the same sorrow as you Gavin. I used to buy the Guardian every day and still feel a tug every time I go into a newsagent, however I’m boycotting the paper now and have written to the editor to tell him why. I live just down the road from their offices and some of the journos (mainly the sports section!) drink in my local. If I ever see Pearce in there, I’ll give him a piece of my mind…

    Comment by Joe Cushley — 24 Feb 2010 @ 4:50 AM

  55. wallruss, the final decision whether or not to publish a paper ultimately resides with the editor. If the paper is rejected even though the reviews are not that bad, the author may grouse a bit to his friends, but there is no recourse–editorial decision is final. An editor can even assign himself as a reviewer, and at some journals editors routinely reject papers as unsuitable without even bothering to send them out for review. So there is no need for an editor to resort to anything underhanded if he does not feel that a paper meets the standards of his journal. It would not be unusual for an editor to be able to anticipate from his own inspection of a paper that the paper will be rejected, but not every reviewer is willing to put the work in to write a comprehensive critique of a paper that clearly is not going to make the grade. The fact that the editor is looking for somebody to write a comprehensive review to justify rejection actually implies that the editor sees something of value in the paper that is worthy of publication either in his journal or elsewhere, and wants to make sure that the authors receive clear guidance as to what is needed to fix the manuscript’s problems. The worst reviews from an author’s point of view are not the detailed critiques that tear apart ever statement, but rather the ones that make vague, general criticisms and express an overall lack of enthusiasm.

    Comment by trrll — 24 Feb 2010 @ 4:52 AM

  56. I think the Guardian asked Pearce to do too much in too little time, the big guardian “exposé” was written almost in total by Pearce. A huge number of words was churned out in very little time. He must have had almost no time at all to check what his recollection of what happened was against the actual evidence.

    Kevin

    Comment by Oxford Kevin — 24 Feb 2010 @ 4:55 AM

  57. No matter how bad the pieces in the Guardian are, they are nothing compared to how bad the headlines in the Guardian has been. For the latest headline which completely misrepresents the content of the article and how this is used by the denialosphere as evidence of more alarmism by scientists see:

    http://oxfordkevin.carbonclimate.org/?p=212

    Kevin

    [Response: Indeed. That was not a good headline. There is some background to this story in Stefan and Martin's piece from last year. - gavin]

    Comment by Oxford Kevin — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:00 AM

  58. I gave up buying national UK newspapers years ago.
    The local paper is useful for the local gossip and job adverts.

    Logically, what with 24 hour TV news and the Internet, the national papers should have gone bust ages ago and the local papers should be booming.

    Comment by The Ville — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:10 AM

  59. @6, Anand,

    You wrote – I wish RealClimate would stay out of this arena.

    I completely disagree. Your comment reminds me of the mom who says to the kids, “Gee kids, just play nice and be quiet … and your (alcoholic) father will stop beating you, he really is a nice man ….” (sigh).

    The implication that being “nice”, just sticking to science, and this will all blow over, seriously minimizes the damage to individuals caught in the crosshairs, as well as the broader damage to science and ultimately the public by such distortions and misrepresentation.

    As always, thank you Gavin. I can’t begin to imagine the importance of the contributions of RealClimate.

    Comment by Kris Aydt — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:47 AM

  60. I thought this quote from the excellent David Adams article sums the problem up nicely: “False balance has been restored to the force.” It has now become safe to bash scientists. But the “science” has not changed. Thank goodness the scientists are not hiding and are pushing back.

    Comment by Deech56 — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:01 AM

  61. Michael K: a move away from “rationality” and “science” in public discourse, and towards the twin evils of superstition, “religion”, and faith in the irrational, which increasingly appears to characterise our society.

    BPL: Don’t confuse “the irrational” with “religion,” please. They are not one and the same.

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ChristianityAndScience.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:44 AM

  62. It will be very interesting to see if Pearce defends his shoddy journalism here, and if Monbiot continues his misguided praise of Pearce. I have bought and read the Guardian regularly for 40 years, but am seriously considering ceasing to do so, and relying wholly on web sources for my news.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:45 AM

  63. So many stolen E-mails need to be explained properly, less time
    going after the most potent very active mis-informers around. Luckily there is a science guy:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/23/bill-nye-joe-bastardi-deb_n_473370.html

    I believe that good science gets through when contrarians are pinned against capable climate scientists, Bill Nye did a fantastic job. However, in this case, Climate’s very best are thrown yet again in a mud pit spawned by an evil deed. The Guardian is just as much gullible for stolen E-mail bait thrown out illegally for the purpose of knocking off the best from their usually potentially lethal contrarian blows. Why can’t e-mails stolen illegally not be debated at all? Is it not justifying more thefts, more hacking? Is it so hard to deny the thieves primary goal, unfolding again right now? I put it this way, it would be more effective
    to deny any debate on the grounds that these E-mails were not released legally, case closed, go debate something which has been published, be damned hackers!

    Comment by wayne davidson — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:49 AM

  64. You say that The Guardian owes climate scientists an apology, but probably the most prominent booster of Keenan is Australia’s own Andrew Bolt.

    Bolt has blogged continually about Keenan’s accusations against Wang, each time strongly implying that Wang is little more than a crook, and fully endorsing Keenan’s claims. In the first post he made, I was astonished to see commenters actually announcing their intention of harrassing Wang personally with emails. (Interestingly, Bolt recently reacted furiously to allegations that he encourages this sort of behaviour.)

    I read most of the documents on Keenan’s site at the time, and suspected that he was simply a serial pest.

    Bolt isn’t just some lone blogger – he’s a journalist employed by a major Australian newspaper, and is meant to adhere tojournalistic standards of accountablilty. (As is Michael Duffy, who has also uncritically backed Keenan.) I’ve really been sickened by his continual ignorant, smug attacks, which have gotten worse since the email hacking affair.

    Most of what he has written seems to me to be straightforwardly libellous. How is it possible to hold people like that accountable?

    Comment by Rohan — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:57 AM

  65. It’s rather funny to read that Pearce papers are ” well below the normal Guardian standards of reporting.”, as if the normal standard of reporting were being very accurate and reliable. “Normal standard” of journalism is sensationalism and inaccuracy, and it is true for “alarming” reports as well. You seem to DISCOVER that journalists write more to attract readers and sell their newspapers than to establish scientific truth, but it has always been true ! The problem is that the warming speech has benefitted a lot of this alarmism in the past years, and that a large number of misconceptions , approximations, and exaggerations, even by a number of posters here, have been forged by alarmist reports in the medias. In this regards, climate scientists are punished by where they have sinned….

    Sums up my thoughts exactly. Sensationalism doesnt align with the pro-AGW side for a change. Oh well. I might take these crocodile tears a bit more serious when a site like realclimate would react just as indignantly to all the nonsense published in the media that doesnt stand between them and their funding.

    Why only critique the ramblings of some clueless journalists here, by the way; they are wrong, what else is new? Id rather see a fight between this site and mcintyre, for instance. Somehow, I rarely see his arguments get any reflection here.

    Comment by EH — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:01 AM

  66. As someone who publishes regularly in medical science this whole ”rebuttal” only makes the ”climate science” participants look even more up in the air.

    The science is never better than the persons involved in performing the science period and yes a whole area of science can be enormously flawed for a long time if persons of compromised integrity are given too much influence (the worst publications that slip through peer review are always mainstream, politically correct papers by heavily influential authors and everyone who knows anything about science understands this).

    [Response: Nonsense. How about the Wakefield Lancet article? That is the equivalent here. Bad fringe science amplified by un-scientific advocacy groups to the great disadvantage of the public. - gavin]

    Important risk factors for this are: Scientific area without ability to experimentally determine causality, science with a high media impact, science that dictate policy, science with lots of economic incentive, science where a relatively small group of scientists occupy a scientific area. If we during the last 40 years have been so wrong about cholesterol and risk for MI despite it being a relatively easy subject of study, it seems that climate science might be in for serious embarrassment if you do not stop to draw these ridiculously far reaching conclusions on your seriously weak data. The e-mails and the responses on this blog also imply zeal as a major drive and humility and cautiousness seems to be totally lacking. This does not speak in favour of an honest open minded attitude towards science.

    Comment by jobnls — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:26 AM

  67. There’s a new article at The Guardian, “Reject sceptics’ attempts to derail global climate deal, UN chief urges” based on Ban Ki-moon’s appeal to ministers to reject “sceptical” undermining of the science.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/24/ban-ki-moon-un-reject-sceptics

    None other than Lubos Motl has joined in the comments, accusing the IPCC of lying in AR4 based on the emails. Thought you lot might like to be aware of it.

    LubosMotl: “After the ClimateGate and the general learning about all the lies that the IPCC deliberately wrote in their report, most people in the world realize that there’s no threat, or even if there’s one, humans can’t do anything about it.”

    You don’t need to be in the UK to join in the Guardian comments, by the way.

    Comment by J Bowers — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:27 AM

  68. Juliette
    Chris McGrath

    Let me first try a sympathetic reading of the latest post. For this, let us not talk about Chinese data, springs, glaciers and public apologies.

    Why should there be a long exposition of what ‘peer review’ is, in RealClimate? To educate Fred Pearce? Peer review in science is a simple concept; the very fact that we hear repeated discussions of it in the climate science arena, only add to the existing confusion and make people suspicious.

    Why is it that climatologists feel that no-one on earth can understand what peer-review is, and this complicated process has to be expounded and laid out in clear detail, over and over?

    [Response: Because it is clear that it is not understood - not just in this article, but also far more widely. - gavin]

    Because it didn’t work the way it is supposed to work and we need to be informed otherwise?

    Let me tell you, in clear terms: Never ever believe someone who tells you that the integrity of a peer-review process can be inferred by looking at outcomes.

    Andrew Adams
    So it seems that Pearce had a rather dramatic change of heart on the subject of “climategate”. And how long did this take?

    Exactly. Do a little bit of digging on your own. You wont find the answers here. It may be worthwhile dissecting Fred Pearce articles for some, given as he is the man who wrote 12 green books before the glacier article and 12 books after that.

    http://www.amazon.com/Fred-Pearce/e/B001HMRS9Q/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1267014691&sr=8-2-ent

    Why the switch? Why the mutation? That is the real question.

    Comment by Anand — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:34 AM

  69. “18
    Andreas Bjurström says:
    23 February 2010 at 10:02 PM

    The sad thing is that the IPCC invoke this idea among the public.”

    The IPCC doesn’t.

    Where do you get that idea?

    However, it picks the BEST of those available papers, the ones most likely to be right or at least *good explanations of what’s going on*.

    It’s like saying that the olympic comittee have said that the 32 100m runners are the best in the world is wrong because only three win medals.

    A made up assertion with a non sequitor at the end.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:37 AM

  70. what really saddens me is that you guys at rc have to spend so much time on this. from the contacts i’ve had with those working in climatology it is already a pretty demanding activity that is slowly becoming so politicised as to make anyone think twice about it as a career.

    there is a particularly noxious meme doing the rounds of the denialosphere along the lines that climate science is not a real science…..whatever that means (partly, it appears, because it uses inductive logic and statistics!)

    as a new environmental science graduate considering a research degree i can’t deny that this politicisation would be a factor in choice of thesis.

    [Response: Work on things you think are interesting and consequential. Most of this noise will never impinge on your science. - gavin]

    Comment by Roly — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:37 AM

  71. Edward Greisch (40)

    I disagree. With or without the quotes, nobody “needs” harm to our biosphere.

    Comment by John Peter — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:49 AM

  72. Walruss – if you read the link in the update, you’ll see that Briffa was actually emailing the reviewer to ask for an overdue review – the reviewer had indicated that the paper should be rejected, but the full case for that was still needed.

    Comment by Sean — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:30 AM

  73. “If this is a resubmission then the editor is likely to have a good idea of whether the revisions are likely to satisfy the reviewers, but no reviewer is going to recommend rejection of a paper that they actually like – regardless of what the editor asked. This doesn’t sound like a case where there was much conflict among the reviewers and so your examples don’t fit.”

    It doesn’t matter whether there was conflict between the reviewers or not, they might both have thought that the paper was awful or both loved it or somewhere in between – it’s the integrity of the review process that matters, and that must be maintained. It’s perfectly fine for an editor to say that referees comments must be detailed and extensive, particularly if rejection is recommended, but this should be done up front i.e. the reviewer should have been given detailed instructions. However, the editor should not give their own opinion of the science or try to influence the process in any way at this stage because it would compromise the review process. It’s vital that peer review is carried out in as subjective a manner as possible. Thus, giving away the identity of the second reviewer is also bad practice because it might have an inflence on the first reviewers opinion – even if only subconciously.

    [Response: But the editor would not have mentioned Stahle if Cook was not already aware of it. In cases where I have known the identity of other reviewers it is exclusively because they signed their first round review which are generally passed back to all the reviewers in the case of a resubmission. - gavin]

    Comment by wallruss — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:40 AM

  74. Why do our newspapers even listen to ex-bankers (Keenan), toffs with a degree in classics (the Pythonesque Monckton) and weathermen (Watts)? All these people do is misinterpret science so that it fits their worldview. Surely our media should firstly determine whether the information that these unqualified people are giving them is true, or not.

    As far as I’m concerned, the undue importance given to these distortions of science by our media is a reaction to the power of the internet. The sceptic blogs are winning the propaganda war by a distance at the moment and this has caused a higher proportion of the public to question AGW. So our more traditional media end up getting pressured into adopting a more sceptical position by those who have swallowed the deniers distortions and misinterpretations.

    But the media should check the validity of the evidence being proffered by the sceptics before they write factually inaccurate nonsense. That hasn’t been happening recently. I’m personally disappointed that the Grauniad is now running inaccurate articles like this, as it was the only national newspaper my dad would allow in the house, so I grew up with it, and I have also read it for 35 years. I hope they reverse this trend, quickly, and get back to objective reporting on this important issue.

    Comment by Dave G — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:55 AM

  75. gavin
    You write:

    Some of the more egregious confusions and errors were in the third part of the series. In this part, a number of issues that were being discussed among the paleo-community in 1999 were horribly mixed up.

    Guardian readers probably believe the Hockey-Stick graph was done for Al Gore. You will miss that audience if you ignore the movie in your Part 3 corrections.

    I can’t satisfy my interest in UHI using Part 5. Can’t you make that part clearer?

    The first paragraph in Part 6 might interest Joe 6 pack, but
    s/he will rapidly loose interest if you can’t shorten the rest. Go with paragraph one and submit the restto Science or Physics Today.

    Comment by John Peter — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:13 AM

  76. I have reported your critique to the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor and recommend that others do like wise, via:

    reader@guardian.co.uk

    cjs.

    Comment by Chris Squire [UK] — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:19 AM

  77. The establishment climate science community, with its circled wagons, is oftentimes amazingly and transparently disingenuous with its defenses of the bad behavior of some of its members.

    First, to quote Gavin:

    To start with, the data in question (and presumably it’s flaws) were not hidden by anyone, but rather had been put on the CRU server in 2007 response to a FOI request. Hardly ‘hidden’.

    I would call data that wasn’t released until 17 years after the paper was published, and after years of people asking for it, ‘hidden’. The fact that it was finally released does not excuse the bad behavior.

    [Response: 1990 was another world with respect to data access and the standards that are anticipated now were not those in effect at the time. - gavin]

    Also, Wang’s statement about station history should be criticized. It’s more than a mistake. How could a scientist truthfully state that he picked stations based on history, when no such history was available for a large portion of the stations he picked?

    [Response: This is a matter of opinion. Given that you can never know that the station histories you have at any one time are complete (and in fact we know they often aren't), all such choices are tacitly made on the basis of information known at the time (given that there are no time machines, how could it be otherwise?). It is reasonable to pick stations that did not have significant documented moves for such a study though, of course, should new information come to light you would want to revisit the analysis. Wigley's rewrite of the line is certainly clearer. - gavin]

    And as far as peer-review is concerned, no amount of your word-smithing can repair the damage that has been done to at least the appearance of integrity of the process.

    [Response: I am not responsible for people believing untruths. Many people are going around talking about the 'compromised' integrity of the process, but when pressed are unable to come up with anything that justifies such claims. Complaints about already published papers are not a corruption of the peer review process, nor is the rejection of a poorly argued paper, nor is the acceptance of well-argued paper. Peer review is not perfect and everyone has heard stories of unjustifiably critical reviews, and we mention plenty of papers that sneak through the process apparently without any serious review at all. But there is nothing in the emails that demonstrates 'corruption' regardless of how many people keep saying it. - gavin]

    You’ve got Jones saying he’s “going to town” on a paper that he already knows he is going to reject. He doesn’t “go to town” on papers from his friends.

    [Response: Maybe because they don't write completely crap papers? I hardly need to point out that given that Jones has likely reviewed hundreds of papers in his career, you actually have no idea how many papers he has recommended to reject or accept or what proportion were from people he knows personally. - gavin]

    Another instance is a group of “scientists” discussing not including papers in the IPCC because they “dilute the message”, which, of course, was pre-defined.

    [Response: An assessment process should assess what's out there that's interesting (as Trenberth rightly says). But the IPCC doesn't manufacture a consensus view, it reflects the consensus view (and has to because of the multi-layer review process). The two papers concerned were novelties - perhaps of some interest - but not well supported in the literature either then or subsequently. - gavin]

    So, you may make people here in your echo chamber feel better, but you’re not going to make things better for science in the community at large until you show a little humility.

    [Response: This is just weird. Science doesn't depend on my attitude - which, by the way, you have very little knowledge of. Humility in front of the vast amount of stuff we don't yet know about the universe is very important, but humility in the face of obviously wrong disinformation is pointless. - gavin]

    Comment by Mark Gibb — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:23 AM

  78. Would it be possible to host a commentary on the state of Himalayan glaciers?

    Is there evidence for a recent acceleration of melting, as there is for other areas?

    [Response: Yes. - gavin]

    Comment by Mark Zimmerman — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:28 AM

  79. “Confidentially I now need a hard and if required extensive case for rejecting [an unnamed paper] to ­support Dave Stahle’s and really as soon as you can.”

    One question, Gavin. If this request by Briffa is perfectly legitimate, and it’s something that editors do all the time, and it was contingent on an unstated but (somehow) understood “if you are going to recommend rejection”, then why did Briffa precede the request with the word “confidentially”? “Confidentially” usually implies that whatever appears after that word should be kept secret. So why does Briffa want this request kept secret, if it’s really completely on the up-and-up?

    Regards,
    Trevor

    [Response: Discussions between editors, reviewers and authors are always confidential - you are not supposed to show people drafts you have received as a reviewer, and your reviews are supposed to be for the author's eyes only - whether you sign your reviews or not. But I have no further information into the context of this remark than anyone else. - gavin]

    Comment by Trevor — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:32 AM

  80. Michael K says, “Seen in a wider context the debate about “climate change” can been seen as evidence of a general trend, that is, a move away from “rationality” and “science” in public discourse, and towards the twin evils of superstition, “religion”, and faith in the irrational, which increasingly appears to characterise our society.”

    OK, while I agree that we’re seen human irrationality at work in the climate “debate”, when have humans in general ever been rational? While the “press” in the past tended to adhere to more professional standards and so kept a veneer of civility the public face of debate, those standards have been discarded now that people can go to a blog that will simply tell them what they want to hear if the press will not.

    I had hoped that science could be a tool that forced humans to listen to unpleasant truths they did not want to hear. I’m starting to conclude that evolution’s experience with intelligence appears to be a failure. People really don’t want to live in the real world, and unfortunately that’s the only one on offer.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:39 AM

  81. There has been a sea change in the coverage of climate science in the past year or so. This is just one example. Others are really strange coverage in places like the NYTimes and Newsweek. Where is the investigative approach that led journalists to dig deeply in an effort to get at the truth?

    I somehow think this is linked to a siege mentallity as publications struggle for survival, leading editors to squeeze journalists to offer a friendly face to the people who pay the bills, namely, the companies that buy the ads. Have you noticed the big uptick in full- and multi-page ads by fossil fuel companies? Or how about those sweet-as-apple-pie ads now appearing on TV. I think these ads are costing more than dollars and I am rapidly losing confidence in all of journalism.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:03 AM

  82. Rohan #64:

    Most of what he has written seems to me to be straightforwardly libellous. How is it possible to hold people like that accountable?

    That’s what libel law is for. The problem has been that scientists aren’t the litigious kind, and also libel law having been (ab)used to shut people up, are reluctant to be seen using it. Apart from not having the money or the time.

    Perhaps this should change. What is dearly missing is a single well-resourced non-partisan professional organization — not hobbyist bloggers doing it by the side — engaged in the legal side of this. Libel suits are just one thing. Investigative journalism desmogblog style is another. Then there’s things like holding journalists accountable; FOIing denialist professors, approaching their home universities about scientific malpractice; assisting researchers targeted by smears; etc. etc. But it all takes a lot of time so don’t expect scientists, or any hobbyists, to do this. It’s for professionals.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  83. A group of profs at my U are working to establish a broadly interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Program (which would be distinct from our new, purely physical sciences Environmental Sciences Program).

    One course I’m trying to get someone in Communications to take up would be “Environmental Communications” (or Environmental Journalism, or The Environment and the Media).

    I’m thinking this would be THE most important course in our cluster. According to an article on “Covering Climate Change” — see http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6373 — news media are actually cutting their science journalists due to financial problems. So regular journalists will have to do the science writing.

    And then there is issue of journalism slipping away from the who-what-when-where-why objectivity and truth-seeking of the past into blatant ideological lies and loaded words and opinion-passing-for-news, which I started noticing in large supply from the 1980s on.

    But I’m thinking that regular journalists, without a heavy-duty science background might be able to carry off good science coverage, IF they keep in contact with the scientists — acutal working, peer-review publishing scientists. And in today’s email world, that should be not too hard. I have nearly always gotten good input from scientists whenever I had Qs, doubts, or confusions. I think most scientists are happy and eager to help get the news coverage right.

    I just told our little taskforce committee yesterday, that we can have a pool of scientists on various environmental issues we can contact with Qs, and that I tell the students in my environmental courses that I’m not a scientist, and I might not know some things or may be uncertain, but I know scientists I can ask (and I do ask them).

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:21 AM

  84. I sense that the authors at RC are beginning to make a concerted effort to fight back, as well they should. The denialist crowd are making great strides to shape public opinion on the matter, and hence government action (or inaction) to protect the status quo, which is the goal after all. This is done by many tried and proven methods which take advantage of our society’s freedoms, or citizen’s gullibility, and the press’s irresistable penchant for creating or overconflating controversy. The only way I know of to battle this fraud (and that is exactly what it is), is to call it out whenever possible. Gavin is especailly skilled at that based on what I have read from him.

    It must detract much from your real work significantly, but unfortunately this science steps on some very big toes, so I guess it goes with the territory.

    Please continue; as one commenter stated – the denial must wilt with time. The sooner the better.

    Comment by james wheaton — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:28 AM

  85. Here’s Judith Curry’s analysis of why the climate debate is where it is:

    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/towards_rebuilding_trust.html

    Comment by HotRod — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:31 AM

  86. The Economist has come out with a defense of science vs a “lie”.
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/02/climategate_distortions/print
    Yours
    Frank Johnston

    Comment by Frank Johnston — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:33 AM

  87. Re: 79 Ray Ladbury “I’m starting to conclude that evolution’s experience with intelligence appears to be a failure. People really don’t want to live in the real world, and unfortunately that’s the only one on offer.”
    I think you have struck on the heart of the issue. That is why it does not matter how many facts you can present, many people (I will even state Most people) do not want the facts. They want something to believe in. When scientific facts are presented in their well-defined and clinical fashion, it leaves most people with a lack of personal attachment or belief. So, when someone comes along and postulates a “belief” that touches on basic human instincts ( some like to call this common sense ) that run counter to the facts, then these people become confused and fearful. Climate scientists must report their findings factually, accurately and clinically. That is what scientists do. It is up to others to interpret these facts and convert them into factually based “truths” or beliefs. I think that is the gap in the discussion here. There are a lot of facts and discussions about the facts. These data are scientifically significant but “human sensitive” insignificant. Does this matter? Only if you want to get people to understand the significance of the facts and do something positive and constructive with those facts. Is this an intelligence issue? Depends on what “type of intelligence” you are discussing. Many of us ( non scientists; myself included )are scientifically unintelligent and at the same time we may be emotionally or humanistic intelligent. News organizations, media, bloggers, talk show hosts etc for the most part are scientifically unintelligent. So, when presented with the facts, they will most likely reinterpret these ‘facts’ into something they want to believe. So, when a scientist plays the Joe Friday role (Just the facts ma’am) and proceeds to come to a scientific conclusion, that scientist is doing his/her job in the fashion. But, as we all know, the facts presented do not always mean the truth. It takes enough facts from a variety of sources and points of view to lead to the truth. It is this search for the “truth” that leads to confrontation and battles between and among the many participants in AGW. The scientists have produced undisputed facts. The “skeptics” have presented human centric non-factual reaction. Neither side is completely right or wrong. Somewhere in this there (hopefully) is the search for the truth. It is that truth that is the ‘real world’ perspective. Sadly the discussion has broken down and there is no longer any apparent search for the truth; only defensive battles to protect self interests.

    Comment by RandyL — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:34 AM

  88. Re Gavin

    [Response: Nonsense. How about the Wakefield Lancet article? That is the equivalent here. Bad fringe science amplified by un-scientific advocacy groups to the great disadvantage of the public. - gavin]

    The fact that you bring up Lancet, which is famous for its publication of heavy debatable science of poor quality, is, as you must know totally beside the point. I am naturally referring to the other 99% of mainstream scientific journals who do not specialize in media frenzies. The fact remains that the science is never better than the scientists performing it.

    [Response: Well, actually I disagree. Science ratchets up quality while discarding unsupported ideas and ends up with knowledge that is largely independent of the biases, prejudices and egos of the participants (at least over time). But that isn't the point I was responding to - you basically claimed that the worst science in the literature were the big review articles written by mainstream figures. This is not true, and the Wakefield affair is a great example in your field of exactly the opposite. - gavin]

    Comment by Jobnls — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:36 AM

  89. Ray, it’s always been possible to manipulate *the group* into doing irrational things.

    However, left to their own devices, people ARE rational and WILL act in the main in a rational and sane manner.

    It’s just easy to push buttons and get an irrational action out, especially if you place them in large groups (where embarrassment can cause the average IQ to drop as someone doesn’t want to “buck the trend” and the nutters are always noisiest).

    This leads back to IMO the erroneous conclusion that *religion* per se is at fault.

    No.

    It’s a button-pushing topic.

    Religious belief is not easy to rationally maintain and therefore hard to rationally defend.

    This makes it great as an option to push buttons to get the populace moved down irrationality. See Yes Minister for examples of how starting off a question thread can change the answer if you choose “wisely”. Likewise you can turn the rationality of an argument into an attack on the person’s irrational (as in it cannot be explained to another convincingly unless they too are predisposed to believe too, not that it is irrational to have faith) belief system.

    Then move it into an attack of the morals this person has.

    Then move it to a PERSONAL attack on the people themselves.

    They are led here because to break out they have to break the manipulator’s attempt to frame this in beliefs and therefore require that they accede that their faith is merely personal opinion and lessened as a “deeper truth”.

    It takes a very strait mind to accept personal religion or faith (when it is GENUINE faith) and also accept it as irrational at the same time.

    So frame any discourse in terms of the group faith and/or morals and you can keep rationality constrained.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:43 AM

  90. Fascinating read. It is instructive to see how much respect a paper can garner from those who agree with it and how much derision can be fomented upon the publication of things with which we do not agree. News organizations by their very nature are biased to the views of their audience. Sometimes they lead the way, but mostly they reflect public opinion. The public is now split on AGW so you will see articles from the perspective of deniers, warmers and agnostics in the mainstream for awhile.

    I wouldn’t fret about the article. The truth eventually WILL vindicate those who are honest brokers of science and reporting.

    Comment by Jim Heath — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  91. “But the editor would not have mentioned Stahle if Cook was not already aware of it. In cases where I have known the identity of other reviewers it is exclusively because they signed their first round review which are generally passed back to all the reviewers in the case of a resubmission. – gavin]”

    Sorry to nag, but if this is the case then the editor is still at fault. Comments by reviewers should be kept anonymous.

    It’s really important that the integrity of the process is maintained throughout, to avoid any possible bias (unconscious or otherwise) or external criticism. It’s fine for reviewers to see each other reviews, and necessary in the case of a resubmission, but they should always be kept anonymous. Reviewers should not sign their reviews (I can’t see any possible reason to do so, because it compromises the process). Furthermore, if an author does sign, the editor should delete their name before sending comments around.

    I’m really surprised that this is not standard practice. In my field/experience, reviewers are expressly told from the outset, not to reveal their identities. I have never known the identity of other reviewers – even in cases where I have known the Editor very well.

    [Response: Maybe it's different in your field, but while it isn't commonplace, it is not rare for reviewers to sign their reviews. People do it so that there can be follow-up on technical points, or because the review makes use of very specific knowledge and anonymity is pointless, or simply as a general rule (not everyone is happy with anonymous reviewing for instance). This is not any sign of a problem and it is up to the individual reviewer to decide to do this or not (AGU has a box you can tick for instance), and it is not up to the editor to second guess that decision. - gavin]

    Comment by wallruss — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:47 AM

  92. Gavin,

    Seriously, you are going to bring up this paper again?

    “This appeared to occur at Geophysical Research Letters over the period 2005-2006. There was a string of bad papers published – ones that did not properly support their conclusions and made basic errors in the science. For instance, …Douglass, Pearson, Singer, Knappenberger, and Michaels (2004)…”

    We have had a productive discussion about this 5 years ago regarding an early RC post. I think, then, we arrived at the conclusion, that, had you reviewed the paper, you would have had some additional concerns and would have made some good suggestions—which is probably true for *any* paper that you were to be a reviewer for—but in the case of our paper, I think we did a pretty good job even in the absence of your input. I thought we sort of agreed that while this paper was not a “bombshell” it was not “bad” either.

    Perhaps my recollection is wrong and we can start the discussion about it anew.

    -Chip

    Comment by Chip Knappenberger — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:52 AM

  93. Apart from my response above the fact that you compare the anti vaccination lobby to climate sceptics is a further indicator that you might not exactly be in touch with reality. We are talking about numerous studies where we can with a high probability rule out a correlation i.e. a situation where correlations are actually informative. This is in stark contrast to your own field where correlations are not so informative to put it mildly.

    I would also believe that the anti vaccine lobby (who are great proponents of the “natural way”) are heavily sided with the AGW proponents on the climate debate and that I think sums it all up nicely.

    [Response: Don't be ridiculous. Both fields suffer from anti-scientific attacks from fringe groups who occasionally burst through the peer-review hurdle. No one is claiming that every climate contrarian is an anti-vaccine, creationist who doesn't believe HIV causes AIDS or that NASA landed on the moon. There may be some people who are in more than one of these camps but the similarities are in the tactics, not the personalities. - gavin]

    Comment by Jobnls — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:55 AM

  94. I wonder if the Guardian will run a similar 12-part series on energy – the viability of “carbon capture”, the issues with Britain’s nuclear reprocessing, the role of coal & oil in the British banking economy, and so on.

    Don’t count on it – the Guardian is an unabashed promoter of nonsensical carbon capture schemes – but they’re not exactly alone in this, though, are they?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/oct/16/carbon-capture-storage-hatfield

    The problem is that the Guardian is viewed as being “liberal”, so whatever they say about energy and ecological issues must be trustworthy, at least more so than the Telegraph and the Daily Mail, right?

    Not true. If you read the Guardian article, you’d have no idea that carbon capture from coal combustion is an unproven, undemonstrated claim with very little scientific basis. It goes well with the Fred Pearce stuff, though.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  95. I note that Dr. Curry’s letter ( http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/towards_rebuilding_trust.html ) has been posted at Watt’s Up With That, and Pielke Jr. and Sr. sites, but not at RealClimate yet. (Although you rant yet again against the Guardian.)

    Dr. Curry writes:

    “In my informal investigations, I have been listening to the perspectives of a broad range of people that have been labeled as “skeptics” or even “deniers”.”

    without acknowledging her own role in perpetuating that particular term of endearment.

    However, if you actually read the entire essay, Dr. Curry seems to be taking a more conciliatory tone to the “auditors” with statements such as:

    “In their misguided war against the skeptics, the CRU emails reveal that core research values became compromised.”

    And:

    “So how did this group of bloggers succeed in bringing the climate establishment to its knees (whether or not the climate establishment realizes yet that this has happened)? ”

    And:

    “Debating science with skeptics should be the spice of academic life, but many climate researchers lost this somehow by mistakenly thinking that skeptical arguments would diminish the public trust in the message coming from the climate research establishment.”

    Hopefully, civil debate, and the transparency of data and methods, will allow us to find the truth.

    Comment by John S — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:20 AM

  96. Would it be possible to host a commentary on the state of Himalayan glaciers?

    Is there evidence for a recent acceleration of melting, as there is for other areas?

    [Response: Yes. - gavin]

    If you scroll down in the paper Gavin linked to, to the section titled “Confusion about the future of Himialayan glaciers:1″ the first bullet point says “Himalayan rates of recession are not exceptional.b”

    [Response: Compared to the rest of world, where they are all melting as well. - gavin]

    Comment by Killswitch — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  97. Good work. Thanks.

    Comment by Donald — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  98. Re: 77 – OK, look, I just had a paper rejected. One good review, one bad. The editor didn’t think it belonged in the journal. I pretty much knew the outcome before it was submitted. But the reviewer’s comments were very helpful. The paper is being changed, added to, and will be submitted to a different journal. No big deal. No vendattas. So how is asking for a rigorous review to provide a rational rejection a problem? Isn’t this preferable say to a rejection based on the simple fact that you don’t have the right last name? As a submitter, I get to read the reviews. I’m going to want to know what I missed or got wrong. Bottomline: publishing science isn’t for those with thin skin or week knees.

    Authors shop around for journals, I know this could be a waste of folks’ time, but it really helps improve the paper and when you’re working with a university professor, well they need those pubs in good journals. It’s kind of like how students apply to Harvard knowing ahead of time they are likely to be rejected but what the hey, why not try?

    Comment by Andy — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:30 AM

  99. Mark Gibb recommends humility. Apparently, making unsubstantiated allegations of fraud, manipulation, etc. in an area of research he knows nothing about is perfectly consistent with his idea of humility. And having folks who have devoted about 30 minutes of study questioning the research of people who have beendoing research for 30 years–that’s consistent with humility, too.

    But having experts in a field suggest that they are in fact experts and that their opinion ought to be considered ahead of an absolute ignoramus, well, that’s hubris…at least in Mark Gibb’s universe.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:39 AM

  100. #29 Being disheartened is the first step to understanding. This is especially true if the conclusions of your scientific endeavours point to a need for social/behavioural change. Hopefully your environmental science course exposes you to the social aspects of the field. The science has been settled for many decades on numerous environmental issues. That science, however, is often a threat to people’s livelihoods, cultural practices and property. Effective communication, community engagement, political engagement and policy development (in a country with a functional infrastructure) are as essential as the scientific process that is applied to recommending a remedy.

    Comment by Anthony David — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:40 AM

  101. Mark Gibb says:

    “The establishment climate science community, with its circled wagons…”

    What is most curious here is that the heightened media attention over some hacked emails and some data presentation issues related to tree rings, and so on, is matched by an almost complete disregard for the scientific validity of the “global climate and energy projects” being pushed by the British and U.S. governments. Those include “clean coal”, nuclear and carbon trading projects.

    Obviously, each of these three has a large science component – but have science journalists bothered to examine these claims?

    In the first, it’s typical to see the British and U.S. press run reports that parrot the claims of coal and oil PR campaigns on these issues – especially when it comes to the dirtiest fuel sources, the heavy oils, shale-sourced oil & gas, enhanced oil recovery, coal-sourced liquids, and tar sand oil – switching to these fuels right now, which is the stated plan of the fossil fuel lobby, would result in a doubling of global emissions of fossil CO2.

    However, any scientific investigation reveals, startlingly enough, that no working CCS prototypes have been constructed and put through a public peer review process – not one, and yet GW Bush called for “zero-emission coal plants” in is 2003 SOTU address – along with hydrogen cars, right? Obama called for nuclear, clean coal and more offshore oil drilling. Complete silence from the media on this, isn’t there? The U.S. academic community isn’t doing much to raise any of the scientific issues, either.

    If CCS works for coal plants, it must also work for internal combustion vehicles, right? So why don’t we all just drive cars with onboard CCS, and when we go to the gas station we can offload all our emissions “underground” while tanking up with fresh fossil fuel. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Too bad it’s nonsense – it was a nice story. But where is the press?

    It’s almost as if the conservative media haa lost so much trust with the public that the fossil fuel lobby now needs the liberal media to carry their water for them, isn’t it?

    In the second case, the carbon trading and offsets are mostly nonsense. None of the “offsets” actually remove carbon from the atmosphere – it’s just a shell game that raises costs for some fossil fuel energy producers while lowering costs for others.

    A far better method is to use Renewable Portfolio Standards domestically, and tariff and trade restrictions internationally. For example, we shouldn’t allow Canadian tar sand oil into the United States; it should be illegal under basic pollution laws (which is what California has essentially done, to the outrage of Big Oil). Likewise, states should reward utilities that switch to renewable sources, and penalize those that don’t.

    Finally, nuclear is no cure for global warming, because you can’t expand it the way you can with solar and wind. It is, unlike CCS, a technological reality that produces some 20% of U.S. electricity today. However, you need a lot of water and uranium to operate a nuclear power plant, and with many aging plants and huge piles of hot fuel rods to deal with, plus massive costs, it’s pretty clear that massive expansion of nuclear is not going to happen – just keeping it going as is will be hard enough.

    Nevertheless, Obama put up $8 billion for Southern’s nuclear plants, while giving zero to any similar-scale solar or wind plants. If he had insisted that Southern close two coal plants in exchange for two new nuclear plants, that would have been more palatable – but that wasn’t the deal.

    So, what does the media do? They focus with microscopic attention on the climate scientists who have been working on the issue for decades and their work and correspondence, clearly in an effort to increase public doubt about climate science, while at the same time almost entirely ignoring the fossil fuel industry’s push into unconventional dirty oil & gas sources, the government support for this push, and the ludicrous nature of the “carbon capture” claims.

    At least a few people aren’t buying it:

    http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2010/02/10/coal-lobby-are-they-honest-brokers-on-ccs/

    Comment by Ike Solem — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  102. Would it be possible to host a commentary on the state of Himalayan glaciers?

    Is there evidence for a recent acceleration of melting, as there is for other areas?

    [Response: Yes. - gavin]

    If you scroll down in the paper Gavin linked to, to the section titled “Confusion about the future of Himialayan glaciers:1″ the first bullet point says “Himalayan rates of recession are not exceptional.b”

    [Response: Compared to the rest of world, where they are all melting as well. - gavin]

    But what she asked for was evidence of recent acceleration, the linked paper does not provide such evidence.

    [Response: Try WGMS instead then. - gavin]

    Comment by Killswitch — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  103. RandyL, the thing is that “belief” is easy to manipulate when it is not predicated on facts. Constructing an effective response to this threat may well be the most difficult task our species has undertaken. That response must be based on the best science available, not upon “belief”. What is more, even if we successfully negotiate this threat, it is likely only the first of many our species confronts. Somehow, people have to learn a way to force themselves to look at the facts. If they cannot, then they simply will not survive. Oh well, perhaps the descendents of cockroaches may be more rational than the descendents of apes.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:00 PM

  104. #8 Anand
    “You guys are so behind the game, seriously.” – i could tell the fred pearce story was a pup but it’s useful to get the proper debunking. that said, it would be nice if the rc team were able concentrate on real research and dissemination of this fascinating science.

    Comment by Roly — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  105. Good work Gavin and nice link from Frank at 85.
    I have not found a climate scientist who is regularly interviewed on TV (in the US…I should also point out that unless the Olympics are involved I am not watching TV right now). While I think it gives denialists too much credit to be juxtaposed with a climate scientist on any level, I am wondering if it is happening on TV in particular and if we think that is a good idea? I have enjoyed watching profs Richard Dawkins and Ken Miller battle with Creationists and would love to see some of the similarly inane climate arguments refuted publicly. Jeffrey Sachs, in the latest SciAm, has reiterated his challenge to the WSJ editorial board to meet with Climate Scientists for a discussion or a debate. Is the best tactic to call the denialists out into the open? If so, who would be the recommend climate scientists? Again, this could legitimize the skeptics, but at this point, they appear to have a platform already.
    Cfox

    Comment by CFox — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:16 PM

  106. @ Ray, #80 – You wrote:

    “I’m starting to conclude that evolution’s experience with intelligence appears to be a failure. People really don’t want to live in the real world, and unfortunately that’s the only one on offer.”

    (and just for fun, I’ll tie in something attributed to Gavin, of late) the Globe and Mail reported:

    “One little-known irony of the debate is that for all the harsh words, many scientists have a grudging respect for Mr. McIntyre’s intelligence. ‘He could be a scientific superstar,’ Mr. Schmidt says. ‘He’s a smart person’.”

    Since this is a science blog, let me suggest what the soft science of Psychology (my home base) proffers related to intelligence and “smart”. (If this is too off-topic feel free to delete!).

    Intelligence was originally a poorly defined, poorly normed construct that in the early days attempted to reflect the ability of one to do well in academics, Western-style.

    “We” now understand cognitive abilities with much more complexity. And, there is good news. Higher cognitive functioning is more than being “smart”. It requires, minimally, an ability of insight (to be able to see oneself and the world in relative accuracy), and flexible thought (being able to shift in the face of logical paths of evidence). Of course higher cognitive functioning requires all kinds of other stuff, but for the sake of my message, this will do.

    The stats – per the DSM-IV on those who have normal intelligence, but truly lack these needed personality constructs range in prevalence about 1-5% of the population. It can be maddening to deal with someone who seemingly is “smart”, but lacks things that most people seem to have (integrity, honor, empathy, flexible thought, insight, etc.). The real numbers on are 1-5% of the population is going to struggle in a truly pervasive way (see DSM-IV, basics on Personality Disorders).

    There ARE those, who come onto blogs, and run blogs without these very important personality components. There always will be. But, the real numbers, per the science of my field have not moved significantly, to my knowledge! So hang in there!

    Kris

    Comment by Kris Aydt — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  107. thanks for a great piece – as a guardian reader was rather dismayed by the coverage. But perhaps the sweetest part was to hear you too are a devotee to the crossword and presumably the genius that is Araucaria

    [Response: Indeed. - gavin]

    Comment by kejr — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  108. Re Gavin
    “Because it is clear that it is not understood – not just in this article, but also far more widely.”

    Why dont you admit that a general malaise which can affect any peer-reviewed system, affected climate science and global warming science at a certain period of time, and may even be an ongoing phenomenon? Instead of all these special-case scenarios and explanations.

    Explanations and rationalizations are never convincing, even when they are true. And the veraacity of many of the explanations in the peer review section of the above posts is doubtful, to say the least. I dont even want to get into any specifics, because that’ll only result in post deletions.

    For one Fred Pearce, there are so many journalists who have defended the climate-science peer-review process. Nature and Science Magazine, Scientific American have written so many news features sympathetic to climate science practitioners, in the past and present.

    Politicization of science has been carried out by the scientists as much as the journalists and politicians. Let me quote just one example. Just recall the Douglas Kennedy’s editorial in Science, 2005 (10.1126/science.1117863). The paranoid concept of ‘harassment’ was used to shield Mann in the exact same fashion Nature defended the CRU against FOIA ‘harassment’ in its December editorial, another example of politicization.

    Regards

    [Response: Why should I admit something I don't agree with? I don't agree there is a general malaise in peer review. It's imperfect of course, but generally works well. Papers are better for it and the literature is enriched. There is no 'crisis' in peer review other than the fact that the burdens on reviewers are growing (I get asked a few times a week for reviews which I cannot possibly do). You appear to think that 'harassment' is only being used as an excuse - but you are very wrong - senatorial threats, threats of subpoenas, calls for investigations based on alleged misconduct, frivolous FOIA requests, improper pressures on granting authorities etc. are happening all over - and if you think that is part of the normal scientific process, you must be living on a different planet. - gavin]

    Comment by Anand — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:22 PM

  109. Regarding the sloppy coverage by the Guardian of the CRU business, Iam reminded of a true conversation I had with a lawywer some years ago:
    He said to me:

    “You as a scientist are interested in finding the truth, but as I a laywer am interested in winning a case. There is a fundamental difference”

    In the same vein, I can imagine a conversation with a journalist:

    “You as a scientist are interested in finding the truth, but I as a journalist am interested in selling large numbers of papers to people who like setting the world to rights after a few glasses of wine. Therefore, intellectual rigour is out of the question”

    In fairness to the Guardian, other ‘quality’ papers often slip up. That’s why your site is essential.

    Cheers
    Rod

    Comment by Rod Evans — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:29 PM

  110. @69 Completely Fed Up,

    It is evident that the IPCC strategy is to use the authoritative voice of “objective” science to advocate policy. I´m sorry that you fail to see this. Guess I have to tell you the same thing as you guys tell laypeople: You do not have the required competence to understand the interface of science and policymaking. Please, go home and do your homework. Read the relevant literature and think these issues through seriously. Then we can have a discussion. I rest my case, many of you guys are “denialists”, it is just that you deny other things than the basic physical science denialists ….

    [Response: Perhaps you'd like to point to a document where the IPCC has advocated a specific climate policy? Just one. - gavin]

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:31 PM

  111. Fascinating article I heard about on NPR yesterday afternoon concerning cultural cognition. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124008307
    Comes out of Yale culturalcognition.net studying tendencies for people to reject or accept science, authority, and consensus depending upon worldview. Concluding by saying that scientists have to learn to communicate better–not just throw more evidence at folks. Lot’s of interesting graphs in the study. Anyone else here picking up on that?

    Comment by Charlie Laurel — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  112. Re #101
    At the American Geophysical Union meeting in December, there was a presentation on the state of Himalayan glaciers by William Lau of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Susan Kaspari of Central Washington University, Jeffrey Kargel from the University of Arizona and Brent Holben, also of Goddard.

    Lau said that the atmosphere over the Himalayas has been warming at a rate two to five times faster than the global warming rate. In addition there are local feedback processes at work affecting the glaciers.

    An increase in atmospheric aerosols in the region is causing a local feedback process of an “elevated heat pump” which may accelerate glacier melt.

    A layer of atmospheric soot has accumulated over India’s Gangetic Plain up against the foothills of the Himalayas. Along the foothills, the atmosphere draws heat from the surface to the atmosphere. This heat rises up the face of the foothills hitting the upper surface and melts the glaciers.

    In addition, there is a three-fold increase in black carbon concentrations on the Himalayans snowfields in the period since 1970, compared to the period from 1890 to 1970, according to Susan Kaspari. “Black carbon on the surface can contribute to melt,” Kaspari says.

    Having said all this, though, the Himalayan glaciers cover a vast area and are not in danger of disappearing soon. Kargel said there is no evidence that Himalayan glaciers are retreating anomalously quickly, They are retreating, however, like glaciers elsewhere in the world.

    Comment by Dan Whipple — 24 Feb 2010 @ 12:51 PM

  113. John Peter@75 [and elsewhere] – re your questions concerning UHIE, put UHI in the RC search at top right, lots has been said about it by the group – also re human heat generation, see here and areas relating from that.

    Comment by flxible — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  114. It seems that Fred Pearce has changed sides

    I think we should be careful to avoid that diagnosis at this stage. Anyway its accuracy which counts for a journalist not “sides”. A false allegation could lead to a self fulfilling prophecy. These errors revealed by Gavin are very serious and reveal a degree of irresponsibility and lazyness. But if Pearce is attacked for being something which he isn’t, there could be a positive feedback and he could become a dangerous enemy. I think that such acceleration has happened to other journalists who have shown signs of changing e.g. over politics.

    In spite of appearances, the uneven quality in his reporting has not appeared over night. Is this just natural variability or a change in forcing *?

    When I first started reading about this subject I was determined to read only peer reviewed papers. It was going slowly and someone directed me to a summary by Pearce in the New Scientist. It included a section on the “skeptics” with a little bit that was rather ambiguous about Mann’s role in the hockey stick. He was hedging his bets and leaving a bit of suspicion behind. His later comments dropped this suspicion but I doubt if he really spent the necessary time before going into print. Later he dropped this suspicion, but that did not mean that he had really grasped it, especially the maths. I get the impression that he thinks that he owns the topic in some sense i.e that he has the right to write about all developments without serious additional work. The media likes its stars and rewards sensation more than accuracy; years ago it was Nigel Calder , who had also come from the New Scientist. Lets hope that magazine does not follow the recent example of the Guardian. Watch that space.

    There are other examples of Pearceian lazyness e.g the way he got involved with Latif.gate i.e. the misreporting of Latif by the pack.
    ——————————
    * This unknown refers to the pressure which may or may not be put on the media by corporate interests. Lets hope that the New Scientist doesn’t follow the recent example of the Guardian. After all, one of its ex-editors is Nigel Calder.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:15 PM

  115. Jobnls (92) wrote:
    “I would also believe that the anti vaccine lobby (who are great proponents of the “natural way”) are heavily sided with the AGW proponents on the climate debate and that I think sums it all up nicely.”

    The anti vaccine movement is based on a distrust of government and a preference to listen to fringe scientists vs. mainstream. Both of those views put them firmly in the camp with the AGW deniers.

    On a separate note, young earth creationists deny biological evolution and are overwhelmingly skeptical of AGW, so what? That doesn’t add to or subtract from the validity of either theory. Anti-science is anti-science. Sometimes an anti-science group may actually end up holding valid scientific view, but again that’s completely irrelevant.

    Comment by Ken W — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:15 PM

  116. Jobnls (92) wrote:
    “I would also believe that the anti vaccine lobby (who are great proponents of the “natural way”) are heavily sided with the AGW proponents on the climate debate”

    You ‘would believe’ that eh?

    Many of the same people and organizations have indeed been involved in climate denial, the UK medias MMR hoax, and HIV/ AIDS denial. Here are some quick examples:

    Melanie Philips of the Daily Mail (UK): climate denier and big ‘MMR causes autism’ proponent.

    The Daily Mail more generally: In the UK, the Daily Mail (right wing paper) has been a huge pusher of both the MMR scam, and climate denial.

    The Heritage Foundation: Has published the work of Duesberg (AIDS denialist) and is also a proponent of climate denial. They have also published Tom Bethell’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, which endorses AIDS denialism.

    The UK Spectator Magazine, who has recently supported Ian Plimer, has also recently flirted with HIV/ AIDS denial and supported the recent AIDS denialist propaganda film ‘House of Numbers’ http://www.badscience.net/2009/10/aids-denialism-at-the-spectator/

    Comment by Josie — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:25 PM

  117. Ike Solem says: 24 February 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Thank you for pointing out those inconsistencies in how the press responds when confronted with prioritizing two different mounds of bulls__t.

    Dan M. says: 23 February 2010 at 9:59 PM

    “And, finally, what good scientific reason is there to dispose of raw data? I was taught that raw data is more precious than diamonds….and to guard it with my life.”

    Raw data? You mean, they went out to the various meteorological agencies and compelled employees to destroy their historical records? No wonder you’re morally outraged and keep on repeating this charge of CRU (not CDC, by the way) destroying data.

    That’s very shocking.

    How was this accomplished? Kidnapping of relatives followed by threatening notes to victim meteorologists? Bomb threats? Bribes? And did the money for sending out operatives to do wet work come from CRU, or somewhere else?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:25 PM

  118. Briffa via Guardian via Gavin: “Confidentially I now need a hard and if required extensive case for rejecting [an unnamed paper] to ­support Dave Stahle’s and really as soon as you can.”

    Trevor: “One question, Gavin. If this request by Briffa is perfectly legitimate, and it’s something that editors do all the time, and it was contingent on an unstated but (somehow) understood “if you are going to recommend rejection”, then why did Briffa precede the request with the word “confidentially”? “Confidentially” usually implies that whatever appears after that word should be kept secret. So why does Briffa want this request kept secret, if it’s really completely on the up-and-up?”

    Gavin: “Discussions between editors, reviewers and authors are always confidential – you are not supposed to show people drafts you have received as a reviewer, and your reviews are supposed to be for the author’s eyes only – whether you sign your reviews or not. But I have no further information into the context of this remark than anyone else. – gavin”

    Reply from Trevor: Your own statement (directly above) proves that Briffa doesn’t give a rat’s tail about the “rules” of peer review. If “your reviews are supposed to be for the author’s eyes only”, then Briffa, as neither the author nor the reviewer, would have no idea what was in Stahle’s review of the same paper, and thus would not know that a “hard and … extensive case for rejecting [the paper]” from Cook would be in support of Stahle’s review or not. Moreover, he should not have even told Cook the name of another reviewer (at least that’s my understanding of peer review), let alone reveal the main gist of what the other reviewer had to say (that’s YOUR statement about peer review). This email from Briffa violates the very “confidentiality” that you claim he is trying to remind Cook of. Briffa doesn’t care a whit about the confidentiality between author, reviewer, and editor – the only confidentiality he cares about is Cook confiding the fact that Briffa is trying to subvert the peer review process.

    Regards,
    Trevor

    [edit]

    [Response: In any resubmission there is usually a response to the reviewers and the reviewers then get to see the original reviews (which may have been signed) and the response. The parties to this conversation obviously already knew that Stahle was a reviewer from which I conclude that it is likely that Stahle signed his original review. If you want to imagine some sneaky conspiracy, do it elsewhere, but I'm not particularly interested in playing games based on fact-free speculations. - gavin]

    Comment by Trevor — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:25 PM

  119. Gavin asks:

    “Why the Guardian is asking for group input after the stories were published instead of before is however a puzzle?”

    The series of article is a “work in progress”. So it can be refined.

    This is, presently, an unusual idea, but an idea that is possible in the new world of the web.

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:28 PM

  120. I find comment 100 to be ironic in the extreme. It is cost prohibitive to develop more effecient, inherently cheaper, nuclear power becasue of the unique reglatory burden that nuclear power has as the result of sucessful anti-nuclear campaigns of the last 30 years. Large scale scientific studies of the effect of low level radiation (e.g. studies that involve morbitiy rates for, IIRC, hundreds of thousands of people in Colorado that are exposed to 3x the average US level of background radiation) reveal no measurable effects. In fact, this particular study shows lower morbidity for this group (although it’s within the uncertainty of the measure). If low level radiation were the monster that Greenpeace says it is, then non-smoking households in Denver should have many times the rate of long cancer that non-smoking households elsewhere in the US does, because they get, roughly, 1000 mrem of radon radiation in the lungs from natural background. But, that isn’t seen.

    Health Physicists have been fighting bad science here for 30 years, with no sucess. Nuclear is not PC. Solar has been, as has been wind, which gets a 3 cents/kwH subsidy for the electricity it produces.

    The real bottom line here is that none of the discussion in the West will mattter. China has clearly shown that it will not allow an yone to measure its greenhouse gas production, and it will not sacrifice growth. If one compares the growth in oil imports alone, and then adds all the cheap coal plants in China, one will see that, even if the West were to cut CO2 emisssions in half during the next 10 years, total emissions will increase significantly. The only possibility for the West to influence China is by developing cheap alternate sources of energy. Cheap nuclear plants are one possibility. But, if you look at the cost of storing power for when the wind isn’t blowing (that’s why Texas stopped building wind farms when natural gas prices lowered), or looked at the high and relatively flat costs of solar power over the past 20 years, one sees that neither is close to being a cheap reliable source of energy.

    It’s amazing how most environmentalists believe in the “Captain Piccard” principal of engineering, you just have to tell your engineer “make it so”, and within days it’s done, just like Jordi. As someone who has inventions that are used industry wide, and who has friends who have inventions that have saved the world hundreds of billions of dollars in costs, I am very familiar with how inventions work and don’t work. Inventing is a dance with nature, and nature always leads. It’s not just a matter of willpower. That’s why Boing is putting out a new commercial version of the 747, over 40 years after it’s roll out. Can you imagine planes of the 20s being used for cargo transport on a large scale in the late 60s? There is a reason why there was tremendous advancement in aeronautics from 1930 to 1970 but not from 1970 to 2010. That reason is behind the problem with PC soures of energy.

    Comment by Dan M. — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:31 PM

  121. But what she asked for was evidence of recent acceleration, the linked paper does not provide such evidence.

    [Response: Try WGMS instead then. - gavin]

    I was already familiar with the WGMS but apparently I’m unable to draw the same conclusions that you are. Perhaps you can tell us how their three decades worth of data shows that glacial mass loss is accelerating.

    Comment by Killswitch — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:43 PM

  122. Charlie Laurel says: 24 February 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Fascinating article I heard about on NPR yesterday afternoon concerning cultural cognition. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124008307

    I too heard that and it’s well worth taking in, though generalizations about attitudes did not really resonate for me. I’m generally enthusiastic about new technologies as long as they’ve been inspected from all directions and are actually beneficial, yet contrary to NPR’s stereotypes I also believe government must play a strong role in getting a grip on C02 emissions.

    Then again, I’m posting here so I’m by definition somewhat strange…

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Feb 2010 @ 1:44 PM

  123. I endorse 47 Michael K

    71 John Peter: Of course we don’t need harm to our biosphere. The point is that much greater harm can only be avoided by people, especially Americans, becoming convinced that GW is real and dangerous. The only available thing that can shout down Rush Limbaugh is an act of Nature that cannot be ignored. It has to be hot and it has to happen in the US.

    83 Lynn Vincentnathan: I disagree with “regular journalists, without a heavy-duty science background”. Journalism students need to take the “Engineering and Science Core Curriculum” at least. They should also take a laboratory course in probability and statistics and a computer programming course. Being an innumerate in a conversation with a scientist is like being a blind person at a movie.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:06 PM

  124. [edit - sorry but nuclear is OT. It tends to dominate every thread that it is raised in to the exclusion of any other topic]

    Comment by Paul Daniel Ash — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:17 PM

  125. Peer review process @35 and 55
    Yes of cause the editors decision is final and they are entitled to reject papers without review and assign themselves as reviewers ect. But what they are not entitled to do is influence other reviewers. Suggesting to a reviewer that a paper is heading for rejection (even if it obviously stands no chance of publication) is wrong whatever the context. It is wrong if it is a resubmission and the editor thinks the resubmitted paper is unlikely to satisfy reviewers and it is wrong if the review is simply to provide information for the authors. That is not to say that the motive for the email concerning the review is not entirely innocent and the paper was unpublishable – never the less by not realising that the peer review process was compromised the possibility of this mistake happening again is much the greater.

    Comment by aka_kat — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:21 PM

  126. Andreas: “I rest my case, many of you guys are “denialists”, it is just that you deny other things than the basic physical science denialists ….”

    Yes, we deny a fantasy made up without any actual factual basis.

    This is called “sanity” in our world.

    Try it.

    Refreshing, no matter what The Tick says…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:22 PM

  127. And the Guardian nonsense continues. See today’s piece

    Describing the behaviour of the staff at CRU as a war on the skeptics, no mention of who started the war, no mention of who started the twisting of the truth, no mention of the lobby industries attack plan.

    Equating Lomborg, Watts and co as Climate Auditors who have a necessary role to audit the climate scientists. Lomborg’s reference often saying something completely different to what he implies in his books. See .

    Watts’ promotion of the worst kind of Cherry picking . and .

    kevin

    Comment by Oxford Kevin — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  128. PS does anyone know why Andy in 110 gets that switch to “you don’t understand how the interface between science and policy works” from my post 69 where I say that the IPCC doesn’t say peer review is right nor give this impression to the public?

    Anyone?

    Anyone got the missing segue there?

    “IPCC doesn’t give the public the impression that peer reviewed works are infallible”

    $SOMETHING

    “You don’t understand the interface of science and policymaking.”

    Anyone got what the $SOMETHING is?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 24 Feb 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  129. “well below the normal Guardian standards” = disagrees with your view.

    Comment by James Chamberlain — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  130. Charlie Laurel.
    I heard that and have read that. This is somewhat the point I was trying to make with Ray. Facts, no matter how many or how clear, will not always sway a discuss to your favor when the other person has no personal or cultural background to understand, thus the facts actually may violate their beliefs.

    Comment by RandyL — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:03 PM

  131. RE #93, & “Apart from my response above the fact that you compare the anti vaccination lobby to climate sceptics is a further indicator that you might not exactly be in touch with reality. We are talking about numerous studies where we can with a high probability rule out a correlation i.e. a situation where correlations are actually informative. This is in stark contrast to your own field where correlations are not so informative to put it mildly.”

    Science is based on both theories/laws and evidence. Just because there is or is not a correlation or association on something (like storks and birth rates) does not make it science. In the case of global warming, the scientists have known for over 100 years that anthropogenic global warming was possible & predictable, even without evidence at the time. They had figured pretty much out about the natural greenhouse effect, and they eventually understood about the energy/heat radiation properties of molecules, like CO2. Then the associations started becoming sign at .05 around 1995 on anthropogenic global warming. And then there is paleoclimatology to support this.

    Now with vaccinations and autism — there was no theory to suggest there would or would not be a link (to my meager knowledge). In fact, various medicines do have various negative side effects, and new side effects are found now and then. Plus the increasing rates of autism seem to suggest there is something out there in the environment or something we ingest that may be increasing it, and disorders and diseases can have more than one cause. And since this relates to the health of children (not some study of some bug), then all avenues should be pursued in nailing down the cause(s), including synergies and multiple factors.

    Climate change is on much more solid ground than what might be causing autism (I think), or at least on equally solid ground. And since AGW relates to life on planet earth, we’d do very well to migitigate it whatever our doubts, esp when mitigation saves so much money. We don’t want to chance ending up like some extinct species after the end-Permian great warming and its knock-on effect, like (perhaps) hydrogen sulfide outgassing.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:03 PM

  132. Dan M(inett) wrote in #17:

    “Let me focus on the behavior within the CDC that bothers me the most: the discarding of the raw data set compiled by the CDC.”

    You mean CRU?

    ” Let me do it by asking a couple of questions. How hard would it be to independently duplicate the raw data set the CDC disposed of?”

    The ‘raw data’ was not generated by CRU. It was aggregated by them from the various NMEs and agencies that actually generated it.

    “And, finally, what good scientific reason is there to dispose of raw data? ”

    Digital data going back to the 1980s? Storage concerns would be one.

    “I was taught that raw data is more precious than diamonds….and to guard it with my life. Is climate science different from physics in this regard, and if so, why?”

    Do you keep an enormous horde of raw measurement data, generated entirely by others, and gathered from numerous sites all over the world, going back to circa 1980? Or do you, perhaps more reasonably, expect those who actually generated the data in the first place to be primarily responsible for curating it?

    “I’d argue that a simple “we blew it, we were worried about X, so we discarded the data” would be very helpful….especially if X is something like “we might be legally required to break trust with folks we promised we wouldn’t reveal their data, and once that trust is broken, we’ll never get data from them on anything again.”

    Then again, if it isn’t anything of that sort, but simply a matter of a historical lack of resources to maintain other people’s data, then it all becomes rather less diabolical, doesn’t it.

    I’ve noted this overall concern-troll/harumphing ‘we don’t do things this way in physics’ tenor of argument by you several times now, Dr. Minett. I think RC has been very patient with you.

    CRU data availability statement, with links to data sets:

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/availability/

    Comment by Steven Sullivan — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:09 PM

  133. 79.“Confidentially I now need a hard and if required extensive case for rejecting [an unnamed paper] to ­support Dave Stahle’s and really as soon as you can.”

    [Response: ......... But I have no further information into the context of this remark than anyone else. - gavin]

    Your response highlights the problem. On an unmentionable site they have a entire topic relating to this incident. They claim to know the paper and have dialoged with its author in what truly appears to be a comprehensive discussion of seemingly relevant facts. A layman (or reporter) after reading avaliable climategate information elsewhere, regardless of their point of view, may suppose that RC is uninformed at best or participants in the cover up.

    [Response: You are confusing papers. The author of the paper Cook was talking about appears to be M. Auflhammer, the author(s) of the paper Stahle and Cook reviewed is unknown. But please let me know if I am mistaken. - gavin]

    Comment by Martin — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  134. Re: #95

    Curry has a stunning level of factual inaccuracies and logical fallacies in her piece. It’s dissected nicely here:

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/24/my-response-to-dr-judith-currys-unconstructive-essay/

    And no (pre-emptively), being a climate scientist doesn’t make her arguments any more robust.

    Comment by MarkB — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  135. Dear Gavin,
    This is what you get as a result of publicizing the research and turning it into entertainment for the evening program on History channel. If one creates hype and then rides the funding wave generated by notoriety, he should expect that public will become very harsh if the mistakes are made. And you and your colleagues did make mistakes. And even if it will be ultimately proven that you are correct (in about 50 – 100 years), the public doesn’t care and, since the public pays your salary, public is ultimately right. It is also very educational to layman to learn from you that these practices so revolting to moral people, are actually everyday life of scientist and academia (you are correct, lamenting the fact that climate science is singled out). It will be interesting to see what would happen when layman will learn that his billions of tax dollars are spent to study wake field electron acceleration, modeling of comet impact on Jupiter satellites, Einstein – Bose condensate, neutrino detection, … did I miss something? How about Goddard Space Flight Center climate modeling activities? Please do not perceive this as an attack, but rather a help to understand why ordinary people, whom your supporters call names like “ignorant trolls”, are so much against you.

    Comment by Walt The Physicist — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  136. 110: [Response: Perhaps you'd like to point to a document where the IPCC has advocated a specific climate policy? Just one. - gavin]

    Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report’s chapter on Asia, said:

    “It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.”

    Note the words “impact policy makers” and tell me in what way this was NOT advocating policy?

    [Response: Well, first off, 'action' is not a policy. Second, this is not an IPCC report, it is an individual scientist, and thirdly, he didn't even say it. Please try again. - gavin]

    Comment by John — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:35 PM

  137. This post reminded me of the words of Keith Briffa, in one of those emails: “at what point does one come out looking aggressively defensive?”

    Comment by Daniel Silva — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  138. Gavin:In any resubmission there is usually a response to the reviewers and the reviewers then get to see the original reviews (which may have been signed) and the response. The parties to this conversation obviously already knew that Stahle was a reviewer from which I conclude that it is likely that Stahle signed his original review. If you want to imagine some sneaky conspiracy, do it elsewhere, but I’m not particularly interested in playing games based on fact-free speculations.”

    But the reviews “are supposed to be for the author’s eyes only”. Your words, Gavin, not mine. Stahle’s review was supposed to be FOR THE AUTHOR’S EYES ONLY. Not Briffa’s and not Cook’s. Now that I’ve caught you in a contradiction, you seem to be trying to modify your “author’s eyes only” statement to apply to only the period before the re-submission. So let’s be clear, Gavin, for once, so I can pin you down. Is there or is there not an “author’s eyes only” rule for reviews, does it exclude the editor, and when does it cease to apply? Please state this as clearly as possible [edit]

    [Response: Don't be silly, of course the editor sees the reviews. I'm perfectly happy to amend my statement to 'for the author's and editor's and other reviewer's eyes'. The point was that they are not generally public. Please move on to something more interesting. - gavin]

    [edit]

    Comment by Trevor — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  139. Speaking out does have its rewards.

    THE EARTH is warming. A chief cause is the increase in greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere. Humans are at least in part responsible, because the oil, gas and coal that we burn releases these gases. If current trends persist, it’s likely that in coming decades the globe’s climate will change with potentially devastating effects for billions of people.

    Contrary to what you may have read lately, there are few reputable scientists who would disagree with anything in that first paragraph. Yet suddenly we’re hearing that climate change is in doubt and that action to combat it is unlikely.

    This editorial actually makes some good points. Is the pendulum swinging back towards sanity?

    Comment by Deech56 — 24 Feb 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  140. Doug, in another post, I agreed that the raw data still exists in scattered form. Scattered, and isolated, it tells little about temperature trends, because there are many reasons influencing readings at individual stations. But, the CDC had, by all accounts, a fantastic set of raw data. I asked, and got now answer for how easy it would be to recompile that set of raw data. I’d argue the folks here at RealClimate probably have a good idea of how much time/effort it would take to recompile it…especially on the gross scale I provided. I’d guess, from the fact that the CDC got some of the data only after negociations, that the set of data that the CDC had was rare. From what I understand, there are probably two data sets that are of comperable quality. There may be more, but I’d be very interested in seeing how many data sets contained all the data in the CDC data set. The CDC had unique connections, as does NASA/NOAA and I think there is one more agency that I can’t think about.

    One of the reasons I asked you your training in science is that I didn’t learn the proper techniques of experimental science until I did my apprenticship: which is what a Phd dissertation in physics really is. I learned from master craftsmen, (e.g. my major prof. had a Nova program on his hobby almost 30 years ago: the Great Violin Mystery).

    Experimentalists are called “plumbers” within the community. We aren’t fancy dancy boffins, we only have our craftsmanship. If we fail in that, we are worse than useless.

    Feynman said “it’s easiest to fool people, and the easist person there is to fool is ourselves.” In science, all we have are the sets of data we have accumulated and the craft we use in accumulating and processing that data. Raw data sets are treated as golden becasue good sets of data are hard to put together, and if we make any mistakes (as all humans do) we can start over if we have the origional data set.

    It is true, you caught me writing with less than perfect precision: I should have said discarded a close to unique raw data set instead of raw data. I falsely assumed that everyone could see how hard it is to compile a raw data set as good as the one the CDC use to have. The statements that many nations gave the data only conditionally was a strong clue to me that it wasn’t just a matter of going to the web for a week or two and getting the data.

    The other clue is that I asked, with very knowledgable people reading, how hard it would be to reconstruct this data set. My honest question was met with silence. I would argue that, if such data sets abounded, someone would point it out to me….or at least I would do that if I knew of such sets and point the questioner in the right direction.

    Comment by Dan M. — 24 Feb 2010 @ 4:06 PM

  141. In message 80, Ray Ladbury responds to Michael K’s nostalgia for rational times by asking: when was that?

    “I had hoped that science could be a tool that forced humans to listen to unpleasant truths they did not want to hear. I’m starting to conclude that evolution’s experience with intelligence appears to be a failure. People really don’t want to live in the real world, and unfortunately that’s the only one on offer.”

    This is an eloquent cry of despair, but Ladbury’s long practice of going to so much trouble informing himself and others belies his placement of “hope” in the past tense. Leaving aside mankind as a whole for a moment, an individual’s intellect has languished when there remains no mechanism for hearing the things one does not want to hear. Intellectual freedom depends on the ability of the intellect to turn around.

    I believe such freedom is possible, as Ladbury demonstrates by example, and that free minds are more potent than bound minds.

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 24 Feb 2010 @ 4:13 PM

  142. Not being a scientist, but an author writing fiction, I tend to believe that people have a deep-seated emotional relatioinship and attachment to the world around them.

    One could call this their ideological lens, which of course, also functions as a filter. Whilst visiting educational establishments to meet my fans, I’ve become increasingly aware of a disturbing trend; when presented with facts, many people simply refuse to accept that they are true, and express the view that “I just don’t believe it.” I find this worrying.

    It’s not that I’m against healthy scepticism, far from it, but to deny facts simply because they appear to contradict ones ideology, or world-view, is something else. It almost seems that ideology trumps facts for most people, most of the time.

    I used to believe that education was a cure for, let’s call it superstition, now I’m not so sure. I think I’ve severely underestimated the power of state/business propaganda to influence public opinion and manipulate the marketplace of ideas.

    When the science relating to the complex area of climate change began to gain headway and began to threaten powerful, vested interests; it, the science, became dangerous and therefore unacceptable, regardless of whether it was correct, that was irrelevant.

    Science that is perceived as a potential challenge to our current economic and social dogmas, is “unacceptable” science, and therefore has to be attacked using any methods that are deemed effective, it doesn’t matter especially whether they are “true” or not. All fair in love and war, after all.

    Comment by Michael K — 24 Feb 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  143. Josie #116

    The UK Spectator Magazine, who has recently supported Ian Plimer, has also recently flirted with HIV/ AIDS denial and supported the recent AIDS denialist propaganda film ‘House of Numbers’

    Indeed, and Melanie Phillips who you also mentioned writes for them as well. Plimer though actually has a very good record of debunking creationism and intelligent design, which makes it a bit odd that he is so quick to indulge in the same kind of anti-scientific arguments himself when it comes to AGW.

    Comment by Andrew Adams — 24 Feb 2010 @ 4:58 PM

  144. Hotrod (85) John S (95)

    Dr Curry’s letter provides for a balanced discussion of climate science.
    “I would argue that there are three strategies for dealing with skeptics:

    1. Retreat into the ivory tower
    2. Circle the wagons/point guns outward: ad hominem/appeal to motive attacks; appeal to authority; isolate the enemy through lack of access to data; peer review process
    3. Take the “high ground:” engage the skeptics on our own terms (conferences, blogosphere); make data/methods available/transparent; clarify the uncertainties; openly declare our values

    Most scientists retreat into the ivory tower. The CRU emails reflect elements of the circling of wagons strategy…” sharpens up the three options for tailoring scientific responses to an attack that have been mentioned on and off here on RealClimate.

    The 241+ responses provide broader and deeper opinions about ClimateGate (and Climate Science future) than I have able to find here in the last couple of weeks. The “circle the wagons approach” we have been using makes us feel good but really doesn’t stimulate much thinking.

    I hope that posters here will follow your suggestion and read Dr. Curry’s letter and some of the responses. It should expose readers to many important points of view.

    I join with you both in hoping that Gavin opens a topic to discuss Judith’s letter. I would hope the discussion would be lively, entertaining and educational. (However, I’m not really sure that Gavin’s agenda will allow it.)

    Repeating your reference for the convenience of any who might wish a look:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/27/an-open-letter-from-dr-judith-curry-on-climate-science/

    [Response: Continuing to blog about climate science is hardly retreating to the ivory tower. - gavin]

    Comment by John Peter — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:06 PM

  145. Gavin,

    You wrote a blog on 12-03-09 about the useage of the term “the science is settled”. You asserted that it is not settled and that climate scientist are not making this claim specifically. Why is it then that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson keeps stating this mantra? Speficially Ms. Jackson said the following in an article today in the Christian Science Monitor:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0223/Senate-battles-EPA-in-greenhouse-gas-showdown

    “Let me begin by being direct: The science behind climate change is settled and human activity is responsible for global warming,” she said. “Not only have America’s top scientific institutions come to that conclusion, but so have numerous other industrialized countries.”

    Shouldn’t the climate scientist community speak up and set them straight about what scientist are really saying?

    [Response: Try reading the article I wrote. On that specific point, and on the science underlying the EPA Endangerment finding, she is correct. This is not a claim that all of science is known or that there aren't uncertainties, but instead that there is enough information to conclude that continuing CO2 emissions constitute a risk. - gavin]

    Comment by K-Bob — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  146. Fresh Pearce, in New Scientist:

    Can we trust the IPCC on the big stuff?

    Apparently IPCC is maybe as reliable as Kamel, possibly more so. It’s hard to tell exactly because Fred’s natural variation of acceptability wobbles between articles.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:24 PM

  147. “Over the last few weeks or so the UK Guardian (who occasionally reprint our posts) has published a 12-part series about the stolen CRU emails by Fred Pearce that are well below the normal Guardian standards of reporting.”

    Hi Gavin, I feel that you should go and read up about what journalists are supposed to do when reporting on press releases, blogs, news etc., Please note that I used to work for the BBC World Service and at the BBC headquarters at White City. Stick to the science Gavin, I have warned you before.

    Comment by Jimbo — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:40 PM

  148. Anand #108
    “Why dont you admit that a general malaise which can affect any peer-reviewed system, affected climate science and global warming science at a certain period of time, and may even be an ongoing phenomenon?”

    Don’t forget that ‘global warming science’ extends over a wide range of disciplines and even if a few individuals in the field of historical and pre-historical temperature reconstructions have been feeling the heat recently, that publication and peer review in other areas (eg space-based measurement; ice measurement; GCMs; ocean chemistry; biology; atmospheric chemistry; etc) are done by completely separate groups of reviewers and editors spread out over hundreds of journals. Whatever Jones, Briffa, and others related to CRU have done, they have influence in only one small scientific field.

    Comment by William T — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:42 PM

  149. Fred Pearce writing for New Scientist. Someone was wondering about this coming.

    Can we trust the IPCC on the big stuff?
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527493.700-can-we-trust-the-ipcc-on-the-big-stuff.html?DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=mg20527493.700
    24 February 2010
    by Fred Pearce

    Editorial: Honesty is the best policy for climate scientists

    “EVER since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 report on the impacts of climate change was discovered to contain a major error – that the Himalayan glaciers will be largely gone by 2035 – there has been a media feeding frenzy to find other mistakes. But it misses the point to focus on individual errors sprinkled through the report’s 1000 or so pages (see “Digging devils from the details”). How solid are its headline findings?”

    “Honesty is the best policy for climate scientists.” How about it being so for everyone else involved in this?

    Comment by Tim Jones — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:43 PM

  150. Fred Pearce has actually written a number of articles supporting the scientists and lambasting the sceptics, including a rundown of the disinformation campaign. I think part of the problem is that the online versions are not everything that appears in print, which took me by surprise when, after criticising one of the online articles in the comments, I later bought a print copy of the newspaper which had the online article plus a print-only criticism of the sceptics on the facing page.

    Try and bear that in mind about Fred Pearce. The Guardian will be under lots of pressure from the likes of Monckton, Lawson and Peiser, who will use any trick in the book to make sure they get even copy even though it’s a balance fallacy. They forced the BBC to review its coverage lately, including an internal inquiry, after geologist Professor Iain Stewart’s excellent series ‘Earth: The Climate Wars’ was aired, accusing him and the producers of all sorts of nonsense and misrepresentation (better known as ‘projection’ I believe). They just didn’t like Iain Stewart slicing, dicing and dissecting the denialsphere and exposing its innards and pseudoscience on national TV all the way back to pre-IPCC times. However, the rules on reporting balance and bias, especially for the BBC, are regularly used by opposing sides in a public debate to get as much coverage as possible for their argument.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00djvq9

    Comment by J Bowers — 24 Feb 2010 @ 5:52 PM

  151. Dan M says:

    …or looked at the high and relatively flat costs of solar power over the past 20 years…

    Since 1990 PV panels have gone down from $ 10 per watt to $ 2 per watt. Could you explain what you mean by ‘relatively flat’?

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:13 PM

  152. Previous version has unacceptable typo. Please use this.

    Fred Pearce and the Guardian are indeed disappointing. And then there’s the full weight of an office of the United States Senate coming into play.

    United States Senate Report ‘Consensus’ Exposed: The CRU Controversy
    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=7db3fbd8-f1b4-4fdf-bd15-12b7df1a0b63
    United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
    Minority Staff February 2010

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    “In this report, Minority Staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works examine key documents and emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU). We have concluded:

    • The emails were written by the world’s top climate scientists, who work at the most prestigious and influential climate research institutions in the world.

    • Many of them were lead authors and coordinating lead authors of UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, meaning that they had been intimately involved in writing and editing the IPCC’s science assessments. They also helped write reports by the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

    • The CRU controversy and recent revelations about errors in the IPCC’s most recent science assessment cast serious doubt on the validity of EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The IPCC serves as the primary basis for EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases.

    • Instead of moving forward on greenhouse gas regulation, the Agency should fully address the CRU controversy and the IPCC’s flawed science.”

    It goes on, ad nauseum.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:20 PM

  153. EH (65): Id rather see a fight between this site and mcintyre, for instance.

    BPL: I’m sure you wanted to see a fight between Stephen Jay Gould and Duane Gish, too. Or Allan Sandage and Immanuel Velikovsky. Or Howard Carter and Erich von Daniken.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:39 PM

  154. Steven Sullivan wrote

    “Then again, if it isn’t anything of that sort, but simply a matter of a historical lack of resources to maintain other people’s data, then it all becomes rather less diabolical, doesn’t it.”

    Well, then it would have to happen quite a while ago. Even in late ’07 a couple of years ago a terabyte disk drive was quoted as under $400, retail. Certainly, half a petabyte coule be available wholesale for somewhere in the 150k$ range, not prohibitive for a big institute.

    Your reference discusses over 3000 land stations, now, plus sea surface, and points out that the number of stations was much lower 150 years ago. So, generously, we’d have 5000 total stations, now, with the numbers lower as we go back in time. More than 50 years ago, we’re probably talking closer to 1000 stations. But, lets be very generous and say there were, on average, 2500 stations for the last 150 years. With 365.25 days/year, we have 137 million station-days of readings. This allows, with 500 teraabytes (1/2 petabyte), about 3.7 megabytes of data per day.

    Are you arguing that the essential records taken by a station during a day cannot be crammed into 3.7 megabytes. FWIW, I go back to the days where we used punch cards and data was kept on tape, because disk space cost $3.50/mByte/week.

    For example, take temperature. Storing a temperature to 0.1C accuracy over a range of 100C takes only 10 bits: 1.25 bytes. Relative humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation, etc. can similarly be compacted.

    Maybe the data needs to be much more precise than I’m thinking….but I’m guessing a days worth of one station’s data would easily fit in 15kbytes of storage, which would mean that only a couple of terabytes would be fine.

    Look, if I’m missing the precision that’s needed for the data, or the number of different types of data that are needed, I’d very very much appreciate you, or someone else who knows, walking me through why we are talking about more than 500 terabytes of info here.

    Comment by Dan M. — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:39 PM

  155. I think that this article reveals why the RC team is looking more likely to be isolated from the ongoing discussions.

    Indeed, note that I use the word discussions. Going forward, it would be better for us to consider that we are in a discussion, as opposed to a debate.

    But, for my next point let us consider that it is a debate.

    The post’s use of the term “zombie” in referring to skeptic points of view would be stuck down by any primary school teacher as being a slack use of derogatory terms. So, on that basis alone, it is not a good sign.

    But back to the real world. If the author can not see that the world is no longer prepared to accept that the contrary opinions have been truly canvassed, then they do have a problem. It is a testable fact, even just via casual observation, that the people of the world are increasingly not going to accept the RC team’s proclamations on face value.

    I am not talking about what I would do. Anyone that knows me has known for more than a decade what my AGW position is. No, this is about the author of this blog not understanding that the people of the world are going to want to know that all sides have been given equal time and consideration. After all, is that not the sacred foundation of a debate.

    Like I said to a senior ‘warmist’ scientists here in Australia, as boring as it must be to him, he is going to have to go over much old ground again. Alas, he has still not accepted this glaring truth. He still thinks it is just my opinion. Yeah, forget about the thousands of media articles across the globe that have made the point.

    Alas, the RC team seem to have still not understood this. I strongly suggest the avail themselves of the wisdom of Judith Curry’s latest blog. I think that she spells out the issue in a way that the RC team should find easier to understand than the tabloid coverage that they, probably reasonably, detest.

    Comment by Jimi Bostock — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:44 PM

  156. Jobnls (93): Apart from my response above the fact that you compare the anti vaccination lobby to climate sceptics is a further indicator that you might not exactly be in touch with reality. We are talking about numerous studies where we can with a high probability rule out a correlation i.e. a situation where correlations are actually informative. This is in stark contrast to your own field where correlations are not so informative to put it mildly.

    BPL: Look again:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Correlation.html

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Sun.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  157. Dan M. sez

    Doug, in another post, I agreed that the raw data still exists in scattered form. Scattered, and isolated, it tells little about temperature trends, because there are many reasons influencing readings at individual stations. But, the CDC had, by all accounts, a fantastic set of raw data. I asked, and got now answer for how easy it would be to recompile that set of raw data. I’d argue the folks here at RealClimate probably have a good idea of how much time/effort it would take to recompile it…especially on the gross scale I provided. I’d guess, from the fact that the CDC got some of the data only after negociations, that the set of data that the CDC had was rare.

    Once again, it’s CRU, not CDC.

    Go to the GHCN data site, which contains the public domain data. If you poke around, you’ll see that you can get a variety of data from them.

    For instance, digital scans of the paper forms filled in by those monitoring weather stations around the world. It doesn’t get any more raw than that.

    I’m not sure what you’re “throwing away”. Apparently some of the digitized data was lost in an office move 25 years ago. That would’ve been back in the days of 9-track magnetic tape which typically would store a bit over 100 mb of data when blocking, etc is taken into consideration. If you go to the ghcn data site, you’ll see that the daily tarball runs to about 280 mb, close to three tapes.

    That’s over 1,000 old nine-track tapes a year.

    If you’ve been involved in an office move, well, movers lose things at times. And, at the time, Jones et al would not imagine they’d be flooded with requests 25 years in the future for these *copies* of digitized data, and accused of perfidity if they didn’t have them.

    They also didn’t retain records for station data they rejected as being unreliable.

    Other than that, what has supposedly been thrown away?

    People are talking about data storage back in the 1980s or even early 1990s as though it were today, where you can buy gigabytes of storage for the price of a good meal in Manhattan. It was tremendously expensive back in those days to keep large volumes of data.

    Same with making data available to people. Copying gigabytes of data 20 or 25 years ago was expensive.

    People forget – or perhaps don’t know – that back in the mid-80s 200 megabyte disk drives looked like this, and ran $36,000 retail bought from DEC (for example).

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Feb 2010 @ 6:47 PM

  158. Re #150

    “Iain Stewart’s excellent series

    “Excellent” only when compared to to almost no other coverage. I suppose we must be grateful for a few crumbs such as a good account of Keeling, a good shot of a river disappearing into a hole at the top of a glacier and one or two criticisms of the denialosphere. Not nearly good enough for such a major item of news, which the BBC does not cover in the scientific sense (except perhaps partially on the web). Even the IR from a candle being blocked by a tube containing CO2 could have been done more convincingly (e.g. by measuring the rise in temperature of the gas and the radiation from the sides) but I don’t want to bore people with a long list of its failings except for this:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2008/09/iain_stewart_is_wrong.php

    Yesterday he did a new program called “Its us”

    (not Americans but all of us). This appeared better to me; it was quite entertaining and closer to his expertise but almost avoided the topic of the CO2 mechanism. The BBC fails to realise that bland assertions about CO2 are not good enough; the population are hungry for some explanations.
    ———————————————-
    * It continues. Newsnight tonight reported that the Met Office is going to prepare a new database for temperature. Big news that! They never reported this kind of detail before until it looked as if something else might look wrong.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  159. John Peter,

    You quoted from Dr. Curry’s letter:

    3. Take the “high ground:” engage the skeptics on our own terms (conferences, blogosphere); make data/methods available/transparent; clarify the uncertainties; openly declare our values

    Until lately much of the “skeptic” blogs used to contain some ‘science’. Most of it was not very good or just plain bad or wrong or both. Obviously (with a few exceptions) it was only for window dressing, serving as a vehicle to deliver the message that climate scientists can not be trusted.

    Since the CRU email hack, they have gone into overdrive and ditched the science altogether. They’re not even trying to keep up appearances anymore. And amidst this flurry of gossip, they still maintain that they seek an honest and open debate. Who’s gonna believe that? It saddens me to say: more people than I am willing to admit.

    Anyone coming up with such a proposal is naive to the extreme. The last thing the skeptics want is a debate, especially not if it is ‘on our terms’. They’re perfectly happy with the current confusion and will want to stretch it as much as they can.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:07 PM

  160. Anne van der Bom asked:

    “Since 1990 PV panels have gone down from $ 10 per watt to $ 2 per watt. Could you explain what you mean by ‘relatively flat’?”

    Sure. For the last 7 years, even though the amount of installed PV has increased tremendously

    http://www.solarbuzz.com/ModulePrices.htm

    which seems like a pro-solar website to me, and which also gives its methodology for determining prices, which is good, has a graph which shows a drop early in this decate, a rise from about ’06 to ’09, and then a drop back to $4.30 in the US and about $4.20 in Europe (the difference probably has to do with the Euro falling like a rock). Given the fact that solar panels are not selling as well as in the summer of ’08, the recent drop in price most likely reflects a shortage of capacity turning into excess capacity. If you include the price of storage units, which is needed but not included, you get at best 30 cents/kWh for massive units.

    We need about a factor of 8-10 improvement in price. Even if I took your optimistic number, which I’d like to see a good source for, it would be 20 years or so before they were competative in the US.

    One final question, where did you get the $2.00/Watt figure? Does that include subtracting government subsidies from the cost? If not, what’s wrong with SolarBuzz’s measurement of present cost….it’s a factor of 2 higher than what you quote.

    Comment by Dan M. — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:14 PM

  161. gavin (144)

    I agree, RC is well done strategy 2, excellent, we all know, mostly due to Gavin.

    However, in these sovereign debt times, strategy 3 (inside pissing out) might be more effective. Think NASA budget.

    Comment by John Peter — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:17 PM

  162. Hotrod (85)

    “…So how did this group of bloggers succeed in bringing the climate establishment to its knees (whether or not the climate establishment realizes yet that this has happened)? Again, trust plays a big role; it was pretty easy to follow the money trail associated with the “denial machine”. On the other hand, the climate auditors have no apparent political agenda, are doing this work for free, and have been playing a watchdog role, which has engendered the trust of a large segment of the population…”

    More Curry, from another Hotrod good find.

    I don’t think RC has “got it” yet. How about you?

    [Response: Watts. Jeff Id and Morano have no political agenda? That's funny. - gavin]

    Comment by John Peter — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  163. 128 CFU,
    “does anyone know why Andy in 110 …” It is simple (but I´m also rather fed up so I just sketch it roughly for you. As I told you, you have to do your homework by yourself):

    Part of the IPCC strategy is to use the authoritative voice of “objective” science to advocate policy. Peer review is a central component in this. The IPCC concequently communicate that they rely mainly on peer review material (the truth it that 60 % are peer reviewed) to be able to establish “objectivity”. To be able to understand why objectivity is a prefered way to gain political power for scientists in a policy context you must have scientific expertise on the interface of science and policymaking.

    Ok, that was my brief reply. Please, come back with some distortion, personal attacks , ignorance and political opionions, you know the routine …

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 24 Feb 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  164. Anne van der Bom (159)

    Thanks for noticing.

    Trust is tough but it’s important. Judith thinks the climate scientists are losing the public’s trust and there is a lot evidence that she’s right.

    Judith does not want that to happen. She has written about that recently and includes her view of history with an explanation of exactly how the skeptics have turned to “auditors” challenging the public’s trust in climate science. If you can make the time to read her latest piece “Toward Rebuilding Public Trust” at http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/towards_rebuilding_trust.html I think you will find it enlightening and worthwhile.

    BTW Judith Curry is a Professor at Georgia Tech, on the staff of four CS departments and Chair of Remote Sensing one. She is a dedicated CS researcher. Her cv can be found at http://www.eas.gatech.edu/people/Judith_A_Curry#

    Comment by John Peter — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:39 PM

  165. 87 RandyL: “But, as we all know, the facts presented do not always mean the truth. It takes enough facts from a variety of sources and points of view to lead to the truth. It is this search for the “truth” that leads to confrontation and battles between and among the many participants in AGW. The scientists have produced undisputed facts. The “skeptics” have presented human centric non-factual reaction. Neither side is completely right or wrong. Somewhere in this there (hopefully) is the search for the truth. It is that truth that is the ‘real world’ perspective. Sadly the discussion has broken down and there is no longer any apparent search for the truth; only defensive battles to protect self interests.
” IS COMPLETE AND UTTER NONSENSE.


    TRUTH MEANS THE RESULTS OF SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS. There is no truth outside of science.

    Get a life; by which I mean get a degree in science. If people do not accept the [scientific] truth, then evolution will happen. Global Warming will kill billions of people. It has happened that way before. Rapid climate cycling made Homo Habilis out of Australopithecus by killing large numbers of individuals, but killing a few more of the less intelligent. Nature is rather indiscriminate and inefficient. It is a rather simple choice.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Feb 2010 @ 8:44 PM

  166. Re: United States Senate Report ‘Consensus’ Exposed: The CRU Controversy:

    Wait, wait, wait…just a sec. You mean to tell me (an American) that this “Report” by “United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works” comes from the same idjits that had Crichton testify on climate change?
    Seriously? Well, then! [edit - keep the rhetoric down please]

    -sTv

    Comment by Robert — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:02 PM

  167. Reading the various articles by Fred Pearce et al left me with the impression that the Grauniad’s intention was to stop the noise of the denialists over the CRU hack and the Leake articles from spinning into the wider population and resulting in a popular mistrust of climate science. Lancing the boil if you like. That fred Pearce got some things wrong is unfortunate but those mistakes represent an opportunity to build better relationships with media outlets on science reporting in general and climate science in particular, not to shoot them down. We shouldn’t, by our response, make the mistake of pushing the media into the arms of Monckton etc.

    Comment by Jeremy C — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:21 PM

  168. Michael K (123)

    RealClimate is a well known public blog. This topic is about public trust in climate scientists and how to keep/recover it. MSMers like RL are delighted to get posts like yours from a staffer, cherry pick it as I did, and spend 15 minutes of his air time describing the climate “scientists” and their desire to sicken, maim and kill some of us to get data supporting their scatterbrained theories. This unfair abuse is a widespread recognized problem of scientists dealing with the public. Your cherry-pickable comments do not belong to you any more than the email contents belonged to the CRU scientists.

    Say what you mean, mean what you say.

    BTW you can still find some who will say that FDR got the Japanese to attack us in 1941 so he could get the nation into WWII and others who claim that Dick Cheney told the air force jets protecting NYC not to shoot down the terrorist planes before they crashed into WTT. These urban legends persist despite all facts and logic. It’s a nasty world in the MSM arena.
    get some AGW disaster data from all of his listeners

    Comment by John Peter — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:27 PM

  169. [edit - nuclear power is OT]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:29 PM

  170. fixible (113)

    Thank you very much. It never would have occured to me to search for anthropogenic heat

    Comment by John Peter — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:30 PM

  171. Gavin
    “but you are very wrong – senatorial threats, threats of subpoenas, calls for investigations based on alleged misconduct, frivolous FOIA requests, improper pressures on granting authorities etc. are happening all over…”

    There is a contradiction in your argument. Were all these things done to climate scientists, just to harass them? Or was there any substance in these actions? If
    there is any substance, the harassment argument is superceded and therefore irrelevant.

    [Response: You aren't paying attention - all of those things are happening right now. This is not historical revisionism - it is daily reality for dozens of scientists. And no, there is no substance to the attacks. Disputes about science should be settled in the literature, not in court. - gavin]

    For each of what you list, the opposite party clearly thinks there is enough reason to do what they did – senatorial threatening, FOIAing etc – and not to just harass.

    Let’s take the ‘senator threatening’ as an example. Nature magazine felt that Rep. Barton has no moral right to ask Mann for data because he “was no friend of the environment” and went by the name “Smoky Joe”, and therefore there was “no doubt as to his agenda”. But Barton believed he was within his rights and rightly so, to direct requests to scientists who were federally funded.

    Where is the harassment here? There is only two choices here – you either believe in Barton’s right to ask for this information, or you don’t.

    The harassment is a figment of the fertile imagination (whoever feels harassed) because you don’t like what you are doing, or forced to do. If you feel that letters, subpeonas,FOI requests are legal, whether they are irksome or not is immaterial. In the world I live in. Irrespective of climate scientists’ ability to get prestigious journals like Science and Nature to whine about it.

    See: 10.1038/436007a. Nature: Questions to Pachauri.

    1)What was your first thought when you read the letter?
    2)Do you feel obliged to respond?
    3)Is it appropriate for a US House committee to make these demands?
    4)Do you think individual scientists such as Mann need to be better protected against pressure from politicians?

    William T
    The general malaise that can affect a peer-review system can affect any of the many disciplines you list. The transmittal of alarmist advocacy pressures into the science community accelerated the process of slow self-correction that would have taken place anyway. I do not believe that the scientists involved in Climategate to be fundamentally dishonest. Just a touch enthusiastic, that is all.

    Regards

    Comment by Anand — 24 Feb 2010 @ 9:37 PM

  172. dhoggins stated:

    I’m not sure what you’re “throwing away”.

    Well, I’ve read this quote from the director of the CRU, Dr. Phil Jones, from many places, including a number that didn’t seem like sites that were engaged in polemics. It was:

    “Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e., quality controlled and homogenized) data.”

    I have a real hard time understanding what is going on here. I’ve lived in environments in which we had tons of data and had to compress it into small packages. I worked with massive amounts of data in the latter 70s, so I understand it can be a pain.

    Now, you’ve stated that three tapes a day were required for the data. That confuses me. Back in the ’80s, there weren’t as many stations as today, so if you had, say, 2000 reporting stations, that would probably be a high number. Yet, you are talking about 380 mbytes of data per day. If I can do the math, that’s about 170 kbytes of data per station per day.

    I’m begininning to understand when the technique started, but still shake my head at why it was done. The way you and Dr. Jones appears to describe it, they got 10 different sets of data from, say, Lusaka, but none of them spanned the whole time sequence, etc. In order to save space and time, someone made an on-the-spot judgement on how to reconcile the data, and one compiled set was given. Later, this compiled set was merged with another compiled set, and further judgements were made.

    No-one can go back to the original data because there just wasn’t space to keep it.

    I don’t doubt that there are digitized images of hand written sheets. If all that happened was that many of the sheets were lots in a move, but the numbers that were hand input from the sheet into a primitive data base (I’ve written my share of those in the late 70s and the 80s), are still here, then it’s not a problem. But that doesn’t sound like what happened.

    So, I now see why storage wasn’t always trivial, but I don’t see how each station had 170 kbytes of raw information per day. I’m not suspecting malfesence here, just very sloppy technique. We’re talking about trying to find out what the temperature was. Keeping hourly temps, humidities, wind direction and speed, rainfall would probably need (assuming temps were kept with 0.1C precision, there’s 10 bits, humidity to percent, 7 bits; wind direction to 16 points, 4 bits; wind speed to km/hour, 8 bits, rainfall to mm, 10 bits (a meter/hour is quite a rain), we have just over 4 bytes/hour. Add overhead, check bits, etc., and we could go to 6 bytes/hour. Add comments every day, restricted to 500 characters, and you have a nice compressed, standardized data set of less than 1k.

    Now, that’s close enough to raw for me. So, I’m still puzzled, why does it take so much room to store the data unless folks were not taking proper care.

    I’m not talking anything wild here. I’m talking SOP from what I’ve done _during that time period_ to save space.

    Was the CRU really that small back then?

    I certainly don’t think things were done with malice aforethought. I am just thinking that whoever did the work didn’t take the care of the data that I was trained to do.

    Now, there is one more possibility. The quote from Phil Jones was fabricated. Can you point me to his saying that “I never said that, we never did that?”

    BTW, I admit that my conversing here is not fully rigorous. But, this isn’t my job…..I’m just interested in what happened. If it’s no more than some tapes didn’t make the move, and they are only 1/2% of the raw data, and the statement that we had this claim on our website and then removed it is false, then someone is doing a very bad job of getting that out. At the very least, the CRU website should clearly state that.

    Comment by Dan M. — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:22 PM

  173. 133>….
    [Response: You are confusing papers. The author of the paper Cook was talking about appears to be M. Auflhammer, the author(s) of the paper Stahle and Cook reviewed is unknown. But please let me know if I am mistaken. - gavin]

    You are right about the paper but my point still stands.
    CA and the like seem to be turning into a sort of clearing house for the climategate press. That seemed to be McIntyre’s goal from the start and now he’s getting more traction than was expected.
    M

    Comment by Martin — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:26 PM

  174. Dan M. says: 24 February 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Dan, just quickly its CRU, not CDC. If one is typing in a hurry it’s easy to pick the wrong acronym so no big deal but it’s sort of interrupting the flow your words for this reader, anyway.

    Like I said earlier, words matter. Carelessly remarking about lost or destroyed “raw” data that is not vanished is imprecise; counting on context to correct a poor choice of words leaves room for ambiguity. You may have noticed, public discussions about this field are substantially distorted by rhetorical opportunists seizing on second hand accounts, rumor, innuendo and even outright fabrications and then launching forth to repeat their misunderstandings far and wide, leading to degenerate understanding of the topic.

    The missing CRU data is a case in point of taking a shred of truth and inflating it into a balloon of exaggeration.

    The actual fraction of the copies of the total data set in question lost, misplaced or retired through whatever means by CRU is rather small– apparently ~5%– compared to that remaining fraction which is available* and by its relative size presumably dominates the results of CRU’s analysis. You’re right that duplicated effort would be needed to reproduce CRU’s results with exacting numerical precision, but would simply leaving that 5% out make any substantial difference in the conclusions? Is the missing data even strictly necessary to validate CRU’s methods? That’s for somebody else to say with authority, but judging just by sheer bulk I doubt it.

    I’m not sure how your insight into experimental physics makes you uniquely qualified to form conclusions about this matter. My daily activities include plumbing also, having to do with making sure microwave radio links behave as predicted and sometimes explaining why they don’t. This activity includes an unfortunate amount of what I’ll presume to call “desperation science”, investigations into complicated artifactual features. I am presented with a phenomenon in the form of a malfunction in equipment that is thousands of miles away, must then form a hypothesis to explain the misbehavior, make a prediction about how to correct it, then commit to an experiment in the form of sending somebody into the jungle to climb an isolated tower to test my reasoning by various manipulations. Faulty hypotheses are expensive and embarrassing. So, while my scientific training was limited, I may reasonably say my practice of the actual scientific method has been refined by constant practice and occasional costly punishment in the particular arena I deal with.

    So thanks to my activities I’m familiar with the value of observational data. Just so, I’m capable of recognizing which data is irreplaceable and which is not. Nothing fundamentally unique has been lost by CRU, not in the form of data. If they were to lose track of or somehow forget their methods that would be surely be worse than having to call on their original sources for copies of data they’ve lost.

    *
    ‘Over 95% of the CRU climate data set concerning land surface temperatures has been accessible to climate researchers, sceptics and the public for several years the University of East Anglia has confirmed.

    “It is well known within the scientific community and particularly those who are sceptical of climate change that over 95% of the raw station data has been accessible through the Global Historical Climatology Network for several years. We are quite clearly not hiding information which seems to be the speculation on some blogs and by some media commentators,” commented the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise and Engagement Professor Trevor Davies.’

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2009/nov/CRUupdate

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Feb 2010 @ 10:34 PM

  175. Dan M

    As dhogaza has pointed out these were scientific programmers. At various places in blog-space are complaints about poorly documented IDL(?)code embedded in the data. If you’ve dealt with scientific programmers there is not commercial tracking here – they’re doing experiments and just keeping a couple of current versions. Probably without records beyond individual programmer recall.

    CRU could have reordered copies of the data but it’s the missing data modification code that was and is the problem. At least that’s where my head is.

    Comment by John Peter — 24 Feb 2010 @ 11:11 PM

  176. Re: 162 John Peter says: 24 February 2010 at 7:25 PM
    “I don’t think RC has “got it” yet. How about you?”

    RC’s got it all right.

    On the Credibility of Climate Research, Part II:  Towards Rebuilding Trust
    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/towards_rebuilding_trust.html
    excerpt
    “So how did this group of bloggers succeed in bringing the climate establishment to its knees (whether or not the climate establishment realizes yet that this has happened)?  Again, trust plays a big role; it was pretty easy to follow the money trail associated with the “denial machine”.  On the other hand, the climate auditors have no apparent political agenda, are doing this work for free, and have been playing a watchdog role, which has engendered the trust of a large segment of the population.

    The last sentence is patently ridiculous. I’m not sure why she’s currying favor with these blogs… so they’ll lay off?
    Whatever the case she’s lost my trust.

    Climate science hasn’t been brought to its knees. It’s all in your heads. You will wear out all the thin leads you’re following in no time. Climate science, the IPCC and all the rest will survive your wishful thinking of irretrievable
    harm to the message. Time is not your friend. It is the friend of the science.

    What you’ll find interesting too is that when what’s coming comes, the world will know exactly who has blood on their hands. And they’ll have to live with it.

    Here’s what Joe Romm of Climate Progress has to say about Judith Curry.

    Comment by Tim Jones — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:06 AM

  177. Here’s what Joe Romm of Climate Progress has to say about Judith Curry.

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/24/my-response-to-dr-judith-currys-unconstructive-essay/

    Comment by Tim Jones — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:08 AM

  178. Dan M.

    Now, you’ve stated that three tapes a day were required for the data. That confuses me. Back in the ’80s, there weren’t as many stations as today

    This demonstrates exactly the problem working scientists in the field have to deal with.

    On the one hand, there’s this tremendous disinformation campaign going on over “Stations being deleted! Data being deleted! Why are there fewer stations reporting today than decades ago!”

    Now, we have Dan M. treating us to an “authoritative” statement that the data storage problem 3 decades ago wasn’t really significant because “back then, there were more stations!”.

    It’s a clever scheme – if the real answer is that there were more stations back then, the “deleting stations!” crowd proves “fraud!”. If the real answer is Dan M. is right, then the “they deleted data!” crowd wins.

    A perfect catch-22 of denialism.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:34 AM

  179. dhoggins

    What’s with this crap? A “dho gaza” (my handle) is a trap used to catch raptors (which I’ve done for years as a volunteer field worker), invented 1,000 or more years ago by arabs to catch falcons for use by “noble people” for falcronry.

    “dhoggins” is childish, as is “Dan Moran”, which I will use to describe you if you continue to do bullshit to my handle.

    Now, you’ve stated that three tapes a day were required for the data. That confuses me.

    No, I said based on the daily data available at GHCN, the current daily compressed files would take about 3 (actually about 2.5, but for simplicity most folks back then would’ve kept the daily data on separate sets of 3 tapes for simplified physical filing/recovery) tapes. I just gave that as an indication of the scope of the data storage problem.

    Go to the GHCN ftp site, and check the sizes of the daily files.

    I’m not confused, I ftp’d in and said “ls” and the daily tarballs are 280 mb.

    You can check this stuff out yourself, big brain.

    Or … can you or not?

    After all, I told you were I got that figure. Why didn’t you go check it, rather than go “oh, oh, I’m confused, it can’t be that big?”.

    Is it *really* too much to ask that people do simple stuff like that? ftp … login: anonymous password: your e-mail address … a couple of cd commands, and “ls”, and …

    Why didn’t you do this?

    I’m begininning to understand when the technique started, but still shake my head at why it was done. The way you and Dr. Jones appears to describe it, they got 10 different sets of data from, say, Lusaka, but none of them spanned the whole time sequence, etc. In order to save space and time, someone made an on-the-spot judgement on how to reconcile the data, and one compiled set was given. Later, this compiled set was merged with another compiled set, and further judgements were made.

    No-one can go back to the original data because there just wasn’t space to keep it.

    Of course they can. They can go back to the source of the data, build their own database, and do their own temperature reconstructions. The data’s there. Other people just have to work to get it. That’s not uncommon in science, or engineering.

    Other people do it. What do you think GISTEMP is based on?

    How do you think GHCN got their data?

    I don’t doubt that there are digitized images of hand written sheets. If all that happened was that many of the sheets were lots in a move

    None of the sheets were lost in a move. CRU never *had* the sheets.

    How hard is it to understand the phrase “digitized copy”?

    How obtuse are you? How many times do you need to be told?

    The various national met services keep the sheets of paper (or, as the world has advanced, the raw electronic records). Not CRU.

    but the numbers that were hand input from the sheet into a primitive data base (I’ve written my share of those in the late 70s and the 80s), are still here, then it’s not a problem. But that doesn’t sound like what happened.

    No, it’s not what happened. The sheets never went to CRU.

    Again, how hard is it to understand?

    So, I now see why storage wasn’t always trivial, but I don’t see how each station had 170 kbytes of raw information per day. I’m not suspecting malfesence here, just very sloppy technique. We’re talking about trying to find out what the temperature was. Keeping hourly temps, humidities, wind direction and speed, rainfall would probably need (assuming temps were kept with 0.1C precision, there’s 10 bits, humidity to percent, 7 bits; wind direction to 16 points, 4 bits; wind speed to km/hour, 8 bits, rainfall to mm, 10 bits (a meter/hour is quite a rain), we have just over 4 bytes/hour. Add overhead, check bits, etc., and we could go to 6 bytes/hour. Add comments every day, restricted to 500 characters, and you have a nice compressed, standardized data set of less than 1k.

    Nice pontification.

    Now, again – go to the FTP site and look at the actual size of the daily tarball.

    If you want to propose a more efficient data reporting format, feel free to contact the appropriate authorities.

    For now, though, “ls” tells us the size of the daily file.

    Was the CRU really that small back then?

    Are they big, now?

    Take a guess at the difference between, say, the CRU budget and CERN’s budget. Today. Not back then.

    BTW, I admit that my conversing here is not fully rigorous. But, this isn’t my job…..I’m just interested in what happened. If it’s no more than some tapes didn’t make the move, and they are only 1/2% of the raw data, and the statement that we had this claim on our website and then removed it is false, then someone is doing a very bad job of getting that out. At the very least, the CRU website should clearly state that.

    I will agree that the CRU has been slow to realize that they’re not involved in a scientific discourse, but rather a take-no-prisoners, scorched-earth war.

    Dr. Santer realizes this. I think a lot of other researchers in the field realize it. There’s been a long-term sniff of it in evolutionary biology. It’s been clear in fields like population ecology where researchers poke into things like the effects of natural resource extraction industries. It was there in weakened form during the CFC debates.

    The older stuff were simply skirmishes in the anti-intellectual war on science, with a lot less at stake than today.

    What we see today is an all-out war on science.

    Which side are you on?

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:56 AM

  180. > the climate auditors have no apparent political agenda

    Yeah — the only way the political agenda can’t be apparent to her is because she shares it so completely. She described herself a few years back as libertarian of some sort; within that world view, anyone sharing it I guess just seens normal, no agenda, just life as it should be lived.

    Spooky, for those with other perspectives from which the political agenda is utterly obvious, of course.

    I mentioned this elsewhere but this brief excerpt sums up the problem seeing the agenda from inside that worldview, I think:

    “… it is one thing to generate policy-relevant knowledge to bolster your side in the political arena, it is quite another to have the ambition to change the very nature of knowledge production about both the natural and social worlds. Analysts need to take neoliberal theorists like Hayek at their word when they state that the Market is the superior information processor par excellence. The theoretical impetus behind the rise of the natural science think tanks is the belief that science progresses when everyone can buy the type of science they like, dispensing with whatever the academic disciplines say is mainstream or discredited science.”

    THE SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL, JULY 2008
    The Rise of the Dedicated Natural Science Think Tank
    By Philip Mirowski

    http://www.ssrc.org/workspace/images/crm/new_publication_3/%7Beee91c8f-ac35-de11-afac-001cc477ec70%7D.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:58 AM

  181. I just read Judith Curry’s piece, and — just, wow. She’s seriously messed up. Can you say “Stockholm Syndrome“?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:08 AM

  182. Dan M,
    24 February 2010 at 7:14 PM

    For the last 7 years, even though the amount of installed PV has increased tremendously…

    That is moving the goalposts. You said 20 years, not 7.

    Demand has skyrocketed over the past decennium with manufacturers lagging behind in production capacity. The simple law of supply and demand. That has changed since the crisis, and therefore prices have dropped significantly.

    If you include the price of storage units, which is needed but not included…

    At this point in time, no. There is no need for storage since the capacity is small enough to deal with fluctuations in the same way as power companies deal with fluctuating demand. That will not change in the forseeable future. Only when the need for storage arises it is fair to put that in the calculation because only then we will know what we really need and what the actual cost will be.

    which seems like a pro-solar website to me

    Is it really necessary to split the world in pro and contra camps even if it concerns such an easy-to-check fact as pv module prices?

    The source for my $ 2/W figure was this spot market price overview from the German Photon magazine. Spot market prices are of course not comparable to the retail prices from solarbuzz. I can find much lower retail prices than their $4.30/W.

    This Dutch PV installer offers pv panels for less than € 2 per watt, including 19% sales tax. If you shop around, you can get good quality panels for € 1.75 per watt. At the current exchange rate, that is (excluding tax) $2 per watt

    The lowest price I could find in the US was thisthis offering of a Kyocera panel for $2.43 per watt. Many other shops and pv brands hover around the $3 mark.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:17 AM

  183. Michael K (142)

    Head up, chest out

    “This above all:
    To thine own self be true,
    for it must follow as dost the night the day,
    that canst not then be false to any man”

    Shakespeare or Socrates or someone

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:27 AM

  184. Gavin.
    Unfortunately, this article comes across as ” shoot the messenger”. Because of the recent controversy, it is no longer enough to simply try and rebut the errors because the currency of your view has been devalued. It is too easy for the sceptics to rubbish your opinions – ” oh , he is just another of those weasely climate scientists – did you see those e-mails” You no longer have the scientific authority you once enjoyed. The crux of the problem is how to get that authority back – I don’t have a clue!
    I think it is a bit excessive to claim that Pearce has ” gone over to the other side” as some people have commented. Firstly, having sides is completely counter- productive.Secondly Pearce is not an ill-educated fool ( as witness his previous writings) – I think he has some genuine concerns about some of the climate science. Does this not make you stop and think also?
    I enjoy reading your site although I have to be honest , I don’t always agree with you.

    Comment by Nick Myerscough — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:32 AM

  185. [Response: Perhaps you'd like to point to a document where the IPCC has advocated a specific climate policy? Just one. - gavin]

    I did not say that the IPCC advocates SPECIFIC climate policy. Quote: “It is evident that the IPCC strategy is to use the authoritative voice of “objective” science to advocate policy.” I intended to say that 1) the IPCC advocate that action should be taken. Thus, the IPCC prefer action over non-action and acts consistently with this policy objective. 2) the IPCC favors some basic policy approaches over others, e.g. technological fixes and economic market based instruments over societal planning and behaviour change. The IPCC is NOT explicit on particular policy details, e.g. we should build lots of nuclear power plants in China (Gavin, you attack a straw men, as always).

    [Response: No, I'm trying to make you be more precise in your language. When people read that the 'IPCC advocates policy', they interpret this as IPCC is backing Kyoto or cap-and-trade or the CDM or similar. They do none of these things. Instead they have laid out the probable consequences of BAU and discussed options for taking us off that track. That is not the same thing at all. Do climate scientists have a preference for action over inaction? Yes. But just in the same way that we would all like the number of little old ladies being mugged to be reduced to zero. Confusing this with specific policy advocacy is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. Please do your part in reducing confusion. - gavin]

    You guys work in the stealth mode (fronting science and hiding your politics), so I do not expect to find explicit political documents in print (as you want me to show you). However, you guys do make blunders that undermine the chosen strategy to stealth advocate policy. So I make an effort to prove you wrong (and you are wrong, it is beyond doubt).

    For example, this is clearly a value laden statement that advocates policy:

    “Tomorrow Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist and author of part of the IPCC third assessment report, along with IPCC participant Dr. Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton, and Dr. Gavin Schmidt of NASA, will discuss the mounting scientific evidence since the IPCC’s 2007 assessment report, and why it is in fact more clear now than ever before that we must take action to solve the global climate crisis.”

    And this also clearly demonstrates policy concerns (not disinterestedness):

    “We are not going to get better climate policy by agreeing that the smearing, misquoting and misrepresentation of scientists is ‘ok’.” (Gavin)

    And so is this statement by Pachauri:

    “I mean, let’s face it, that the whole subject of climate change having become so important is largely driven by the work of the IPCC. If the IPCC wasn’t there, why would anyone be worried about climate change? It’s also certainly to be expected that there are some interests who would not want to take action against climate change. I mean, I don’t want to name a country, but you know during the Copenhagen meeting there was one country that was saying that there should be no agreement simply because the IPCC, after the e-mails, the scandal of the hacking e-mails, the IPCC’s report shouldn’t be taken as a basis for any agreement. And you know what the motivation behind that statement was and where it was coming from? Are we going to fall prey to vested interests?”

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 25 Feb 2010 @ 5:19 AM

  186. Anand says of FOI requests:
    “For each of what you list, the opposite party clearly thinks there is enough reason to do what they did – senatorial threatening, FOIAing etc – and not to just harass.”

    Well, we could look at the number of peer-reviewed publications McI et al have produced with the data so far. Hmm, I get zero.

    Re Barton and Inhofe: Pull the other one. It’s got bells on it. Come on, how naive do you think people are here. The sole purpose of these actions is to intimidate scientists.

    From mothballing satellites to McCarthyite hearings to email hacking to fabricating quotes to death threats. These are the tools used by the denialist contingent. Funny, that doesn’t look like the tool box of a group that is interested in the truth!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:15 AM

  187. Re: 162 John Peter says:

    “More Curry, from another Hotrod good find.” – Why, thank you, kind sir.

    “I don’t think RC has “got it” yet. How about you?” – er, nope. that was the whole point of the Curry piece. You can nitpick it if you want, as gavin did in response to your post, but I think she says it pretty well.

    Also John try this piece – not scientific, but representative of how the bien-pensants are now prepared to listen to different music from the press.

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/02/too-hot-to-handle/

    Comment by HotRod — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:26 AM

  188. John Peter,
    24 February 2010 at 8:39 PM

    I read Dr. Curry’s article from your link.

    The first thing that strikes me is the ‘gate’ this and ‘gate’ that. I am still trying to understand how the handful of incidents from the CRU emails can be so easily explained as EVIDENCE of widespread malfeasance.

    In our society, the ‘gate’ moniker stands for a REAL scandal, the exposure of widespread corruption, fraud and/or criminal behaviour. How many FOI requests have been frustrated? One. How much data is lost? 0 bytes. How many skeptic papers have been kept out of the mainstream scientific publications without justification? I wouldn’t know of one, but if anyone does, please come forward and PROVE that the peer review process is somehow broken and massive amounts of skeptic scientific evidence has been suppressed. For the CRU email hack to be called a ‘gate’, the emails themselves are not enough. Real world evidence is needed and without it, it is not worthy of a scientist to attach this heavyhanded ‘gate’ moniker to the CRU email affair and the glacier typo.

    She tries to paint a history that sort of goes like this. First there was big bad oil spoiling the debate with questionable PR. Then big oil stopped funding climate change denial and the era of climate change skepticism began. The new breed of blogs in that arena are worthy of the title ‘climate auditing’ sites.

    She offers no evidence, but before believing this version of history, I demand evidence from her. She should have no problem with this, she is a scientist after all. I have a hard time imagining how climate change skeptics’ disinformation once was even worse than it is today. Can it be any worse? I may have missed it, but I see no trace of this catharsis.

    And what to make of this quote:

    As a result of the IPCC influence, scientific skepticism by academic researchers became vastly diminished

    The bleeding obvious explanation of diminished skepticism is of course that the evidence has become overwhelming and that the IPCC reports made it available in an accessible form so anyone could take note. But no, what we are instead being offered is the allegation of a conspiracy: the IPCC used its influence to squash opposition. No evidence. This does not seem to bother her. But it should. She is a scientist.

    Where she scores an own goal is by suggesting that WUWT is worthy of the ‘climate audit’ seal of approval. Huh? That’s the site consistenly labeling Pachauri as ‘choo-choo Pachewy’ and ‘The love guru’. I wonder how much climate auditing was necessary to come up with that.

    Let me support my opinion on WUWT further with my recent experience on a confrontation with Steven Goddard. He had written this piece claiming a failed prediction by Hansen about Antarctica. Turns out Hansen had made a prediction about the effects of 2x CO2, and (I assume) equilibrium. We will not pass the 2x CO2 mark before ~2060 and add a few decades for reaching the equilibrium and you’re talking about a prediction for 2100. We’re now in 2010 and Goddard already declares Hansen’s prediction a failure. When I engaged him on this point, he made some evasive manoeuvres, shifting his opinion from ‘the prediction has failed’ to ‘it looks bad for the prediction’ in the blink of an eye. He did not correct the article. Read on further down the thread how he brings up the perceived discrepancy between January 2010 southern ocean temperatures and Antarctic sea ice to make his point (whatever that is, I’m still wondering). One month! And in the comment below that he completely distorts my meaning of the choice we have regarding fossil fuels and how that influences CO2 levels and thus climate predictions. At that point I simply gave up. You can observe the same pattern in almost any article posted on WUWT. If that is the climate auditing that Dr. Curry endorses, I think she is the one with credibility problems.

    She also says:

    Steve McIntyre started the blog climateaudit.org so that he could defend himself against claims being made at the blog realclimate.org with regards to his critique of the “hockey stick” since he was unable to post his comments there.

    I don’t know what happened back then. Perhaps the RC crew can comment on whether Steve McIntyre was not allowed to comment as she suggests in that sentence. I can imagine he was not allowed to POST on realclimate, but I have a hard time believing he was not allowed to COMMENT, which is what she accuses RC of.

    Then she also has no problem talking about global warming alarmism (without quotes) and “denial machine” (with quotes). As if the term global warming alarmism is logical and justified, but global warming denialism is somehow denigrating and unjustified. The terms ‘alarmism’ and ‘denialism’ are opposite sides of the same coin. The fist implies making up a problem that doesn’t exist, while the latter means pretending that a real problem does not exist. She should therefore treat the terms equally.

    Perhaps she is leaning towards the skeptic side on purpose to not alienate them. But I think some of her choices are ill advised and she should have kept her integrity by giving due credit to her collegues in climate science that have been working their butts off to get to the level of understanding where we are today.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:39 AM

  189. No, this is about the author of this blog not understanding that the people of the world are going to want to know that all sides have been given equal time and consideration. After all, is that not the sacred foundation of a debate. Jim Bostock

    No. Or do you think HIV-AIDS denialists, creationists, flat-earthers, tobacco-cancer denialists, 9-11 “truthers”, Obama “birthers”, we-didn’t-land-on-the-mooners, the-world-is-run-by-alien-shape-shifting-lizarders etc. ad nauseam should be given “equal time and consideration”? Do tell.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:49 AM

  190. Andy: “Part of the IPCC strategy is to use the authoritative voice of “objective” science to advocate policy. ”

    OK. But doesn’t say that the IPCC is saying that peer reviewed papers are infallible.

    Maybe you get to that later..

    £The IPCC concequently communicate that they rely mainly on peer review material (the truth it that 60 % are peer reviewed) to be able to establish “objectivity”.”

    1) Only for WG1

    2) and this again is only “mainly”.

    Still nothing about how this is the IPCC saying that peer review is infallible.

    Still, there’s more. Maybe it’s hidden somewhere in there…

    “To be able to understand why objectivity is a prefered way to gain political power for scientists in a policy context you must have scientific expertise on the interface of science and policymaking.”

    Uh, where did this jump from? This pre-supposes that power is the aim of the IPCC.

    Given this is made up from you, this can only be projection of your desires onto all others, thereby making your own failings no longer failings in a “dog eat dog world”.

    But still nothing about how the IPCC says or implies even that peer reviewed papers are infallible. We’re running out of words here…

    “Ok, that was my brief reply. Please, come back with some distortion, personal attacks , ignorance and political opionions, you know the routine …”

    And that’s all, folks!

    Nothing about how the IPCC said or implied that peer review was infallible on its own.

    Just a statement of “dog bites man” non-news information, a psychological projection on to an unknown group of misanthropic tendencies and a final hypocritical jab (I take it that the hypocrisy is obvious to all except Andy here).

    It seems even the originator of the non sequitur doesn’t know of any join between the two rants he’s made to make any sense of it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 7:43 AM

  191. Andreas, OK, so let me get this straight. If, in my day job working on spacecraft, I come across a threat that could result in destruction of a spacecraft and significant loss of life, I am tainting my scientific judgment with policy concerns if I insist that it be addressed effectively?
    Is that what you are contending?

    So, in other words, scientists should check their humanity at the door and watch the frigging temperature climb and mass extinctions occur and agriculture fail? Gee, Andreas, that’s an interesting interpretation?

    My own interpretation is that saying “Do something,” when I see a credible threat is part of my job as a scientist. I am not prescribing what should be done, so I am not prejudging a solution or advocating a policy–merely stating that action is required to avert catastrophe. Every time you start to make sense, you then revert to the same irresponsible Lomborgian dream world.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:40 AM

  192. 190 Completely Fed Up,
    I am sorry to have to tell you that there is a difference between analysis, theory and refering to peer review literature that have studied these issues on the one hand (this is where I stand) and to be a simple denialist with no expertise in the issue in question that makes you attack other people because you do not like the facts and theories they are bringing to the gathering (this is where you stand). There is also a big difference between serious dialogue and your behaviour at this blog. This is why I rarely reply to your posts, and I will try to not do it again. You guys might get some pleasure from debates with “physical denialists” but I get no pleasure from either physical nor social denialists…

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  193. #155: equal rights for cops and robbers. Sure.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:35 AM

  194. Edward Greish (#16),
    Of course there are people who have the authority to shut up a foolish jounralist. They’re the editor and the owners of the paper. The First Amendment would have nothing to do with it even it wasn’t an English paper.
    The editor and the owners have names and adresses. You have the authority to make your point of view known to them. And you have the authority to make it known to the people they associate with as well as long as you keep clear of libel and such. There’s a number of things one could do to drive the point home forcefully if need be without resorting to death threats or other denialist methods.

    Dave M. (#17),
    The Guardian is not a leftist publication. Do you have any idea how much the editor is paid? Leftist are not welcome in that kind of society.
    When a controversy-loving journalist writes some denialist-influenced junk in a leftist publication, it doesn’t pass without comment. See for instance the excellent “The Scientific Case for Modern Anthropogenic Global Warming”, written by a physicist in 2008 for the Monthly Review, an actual leftist magazine. Leftists, while they have little patience for economists and for those who take money from corporations, generally value the opinion of proper scientists you see.
    In my local leftist rag, there are no denialist articles. In the latest issue, there’s an article on ocean acidification instead which advocates immediate massive reductions in CO2 emissions.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:55 AM

  195. You folks should consider how lucky you are with being reported in the Guardian.

    It could have been the Daily Telegraph……

    Comment by Theo Hopkins — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:15 AM

  196. “192
    Andreas Bjurström says:
    25 February 2010 at 8:57 AM

    190 Completely Fed Up,
    I am sorry to have to tell you that there is a difference between analysis, theory and refering to peer review literature”

    Yes, I would suspect that would be the reason why they gave them different names.

    Still nothing about how you jumped into “know nothing about science/policy interface” from “the IPCC doesn’t give the implication out that peer reviewed paper means infallible” and you still have not managed to show this.

    You’re uttering Calvin’s realisation of what communication is all about to you and to him: the complete obfuscation of meaning.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:25 AM

  197. Dan M: But, if you look at the cost of storing power for when the wind isn’t blowing (that’s why Texas stopped building wind farms when natural gas prices lowered), or looked at the high and relatively flat costs of solar power over the past 20 years, one sees that neither is close to being a cheap reliable source of energy.

    BPL: And yet 42% of all the new electrical generating capacity put in across the US last year was wind. 35% the year before.

    DM: It’s amazing how most environmentalists believe in the “Captain Piccard” principal of engineering, you just have to tell your engineer “make it so”, and within days it’s done, just like Jordi.

    BPL: “Picard” and “Geordi.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:34 AM

  198. Gavin:
    “You aren’t paying attention – all of those things are happening right now. This is not historical revisionism – it is daily reality for dozens of scientists. And no, there is no substance to the attacks. Disputes about science should be settled in the literature, not in court.”

    I am paying my utmost attention. Bad things happen all the time to scientists, especially to climate scientists given the high-profile. The overall question I considered over is: Does climate science get ample moral support from the science media? I believe the answer is yes. I quoted the Nature and Science examples to illustrate this point as the historic record is complete, unlike current events which are still ongoing.

    Did climate scienctists get support from the Guardian all these years? Yes. By support from the Guardian, at the least – I mean publication of articles about climate change suitable for consumption by the wide public, therefore aligning the ‘public interest’ with increased study of the climate. Did it publish any pieces about this underground community of denialosphericals photographing thermometer sites? Probably not. Did the Guardian publish any major exposition pieces about Climategate for more than two months after Climategate? No. In summa, The Guardian, and other science media outlets have afforded enough support to climate scientists.

    So, finally, two-and-a-half months after Nov 16-17, they work up the courage to shush Monbiot for a while and get Pearce to squeak a bit, which he does in such a tame un-researched roundabout way. And you are picking on that?

    One more clue – the public spat between Pearce, Hasnain and Pachauri had Pearce holding the ball at one point, making him look foolish. See:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fred-pearce-i-wrote-the-offending-article-i-stand-by-it-1876419.html

    The posting comments after publication of articles was just a lame attempt at recapitulating the crowdsourcing model which made the Guardian so popular with the MPs’ expenses scandal.

    The Guardian did carry an absolutely delightful opinion piece from Simon Jenkins, but that is not for general circulation. :)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/04/scientists-fallibilty-self-criticism-question

    RL: In a public battle, if you impugn motives of your opponents (Inhofe and Barton in this case) to bolster your case, you have already lost half the battle.

    Comment by Anand — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  199. Walt the P (135): ordinary people, whom your supporters call names like “ignorant trolls”, are so much against you.

    BPL: Ordinary people aren’t. Deniers on the internet are. Learn the difference.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  200. I’ll try again, been moderated for a moderate post.

    the Joe Romm post on Judith Curry’s post is titled ‘unconstructive’. Judith Curry is unlikely to have written such a long and topical post without there being some sense in it somewhere, and yet he seems unable, despite declaring that she is a friend (and therefore he presumably has some respect for her sense) to find one bit of sense in it. Is that ‘constructive’?

    Her post was a post-climategate post, an event that has triggered 3 independent investigations into UEA/CRU in the UK. It’s an event. It may come to nothing, but ‘the authorities’ feel compelled to investigate. Something has changed from six months ago (obviously not the science) somewhere. And she’s written a post about it, a post from a scientist in the field historically on the ‘inside’. She has been lambasted by sceptics for it (Eschenbach and Watts), and now by Romm. makes me feel there might, surely, be something of merit in it. :)

    Comment by HotRod — 25 Feb 2010 @ 10:53 AM

  201. Gavin: No, I’m trying to make you be more precise in your language. When people read that the ‘IPCC advocates policy’, they interpret this as IPCC is backing Kyoto or cap-and-trade or the CDM or similar. They do none of these things. Instead they have laid out the probable consequences of BAU and discussed options for taking us off that track. That is not the same thing at all. Do climate scientists have a preference for action over inaction? Yes. But just in the same way that we would all like the number of little old ladies being mugged to be reduced to zero. Confusing this with specific policy advocacy is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. Please do your part in reducing confusion. –

    Gavin, thanks for serious and constructive response. I sympathize with the need for precise language. Also thanks for openly admitting that climate scientists are not disinterested in the policy and politics of climate change. This part regards intellectual quality and honesty.

    I interpret the larger part of your response as an political strategy with the objective to disarm sceptics. You are politically concerned that sceptics may distort and abuse what I and others say. I do not agree that we should censor ourself from a a political perspective. I am also more interested in re-framing (with the help from believers as well as sound sceptics) than to reinforce status quo and disarm sceptics.

    [Response: No you misunderstand me. I am talking about communication, not skeptics. If language you use is interpreted differently from what you meant, you are not communicating what you intended (for instance ;) ). Deliberate distortion is another thing altogether, but I am much more concerned with what the person in the street understands. They hear 'policy' and think 'politician', they hear 'advocacy' and they think lawyers, they hear 'political' and they think 'partisan'. - gavin]

    I have problems with your assumption that we all share the same value preferences (or that we should in a self-evident way). We do not share value preferences. There are no self-evident ethical position.
    There are a number of legitimate ethical positions regarding climate change, also for the very basics (action or no action). I argue that “believers” and “sceptics” should discuss this openly (this is part of the re-frame and opening up rather than disarming and closure). Your position (that all should share your values) is a strongly normative position, even strongly political I would say. Your argument also
    reveal that you have not reflected enough on ethics. I do not blame you for that. Specialization is needed.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:09 AM

  202. Re: Trevor #118

    I’m trying to imagine a journal where the editor does not get to look at reviewers’ comments on papers that he or she is supposed to accept or reject. I’m trying very hard — and not succeeding at all.

    Comment by Peter Hynes — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:52 AM

  203. Anand says: “You guys work in the stealth mode (fronting science and hiding your politics), so I do not expect to find explicit political documents in print (as you want me to show you). However, you guys do make blunders that undermine the chosen strategy to stealth advocate policy.”

    Anand, you make the same error as so many in the denialist camp. You operate from a political world view in which every issue is framed as political and everyone is seen as directed by a political agenda. You do not even comprehend the existence of a scientific world view, in which integrity means to be guided by the results of objective research and analysis. Climate scientists prefer action because they understand better than anyone the scale of the disaster that is now starting to unfold.

    I really hope you guys live long enough to become aware of how much damage to humanity you have done.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 25 Feb 2010 @ 12:17 PM

  204. 191 Ray Ladbury,
    No, quite the opposite. I demand that scientists (and institutions, eg. IPCC) are open about their value preferences when value preferences matters (this is clearly the case with climate change).
    I simply argue for intellectual honestly and transparency.

    At a more advanced level (the demand above is simple) I argue that values do not taint science, but that value plurality are important (since values are different in nature compared to factual issues). I do not wish to abolish values from science, in fact, I think that is impossible. Values are part of science. Besides the problem with hiding value preferences when value preferences matters (intellectual dishonesty) I argue that “the culture of objectivity” is problematic (this is kind of what you describe as my position). It is “the culture of objectivity” that believe that values taint science. This is the reason why members of this community gets so upset when people like me claim that they also have values. That is an offense to them. To me, it kind of feels that their ideal researcher is a robots. I do not even think that an robot would be analyticall good at understanding the world (besides its lack of moral).

    What we need (and largely lack) due to 1) the fact that values can not be abolished from science 2) we want values to be part of science, is more elaborated ways to handle facts and values in science.

    One problem with the climate debate is that believers and sceptics both tend to think that values taint science. For me, to observe the role of values and communicate this is not an attack (but I do get attacked since others perceive this as an attack). However, sceptics are attacking in this way: You have values, you are bad. The climate scientist respond: No, I do not have any values. Don’t you dare to smear me. It is you that have values. It is kind of an emotional robot war, lol.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:33 PM

  205. 203 Ron Taylor,
    There is a difference between what one comprehend and what one emphasise. To emphasise some aspects of reality does not imply that others aspects of reality does not exists.

    There is over 10.000 references in the IPCC report to the physical world and less than 100 references to political analysis.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 25 Feb 2010 @ 1:43 PM

  206. Dan M (154),

    The point is that in 1980 that storage was NOT available. The data was stored on magnetic tapes and played through tape drives like the Dec TU77. It would have occupied whole warehouses.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  207. Anand: Where is the harassment here? There is only two choices here – you either believe in Barton’s right to ask for this information, or you don’t.

    BPL: Do I believe a congressman has the right to subpoena all of a scientist’s work and haul him up before an investigating committee because he doesn’t like the scientist’s conclusions? No, I don’t. You might want to Google the name “Joseph McCarthy” to see why Americans often object to such tactics.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Feb 2010 @ 2:53 PM

  208. > Andreas
    > The climate scientist respond: No, I do not have any values.
    > Don’t you dare to smear me. It is you that have values.
    > It is kind of an emotional robot war, lol.

    Nonsense. Where do you get these weird notions?
    I refute it thus:
    Because as we all know, the green party runs the worldpointer to Peter Watts on how science works, from Open Lab 2009, the 50 best science blogging posts of the year

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  209. Useful reminders about weird effects resulting from journalistic “balance” aka “crappy reporting”, here:

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/25/max-boykoff-media-balance-deniers-contrarian-climate-change/#comments

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:15 PM

  210. Andreas, could you name some contributors to this site who answer to your description of climate scientists as pretending to be emotional robots without values? Especially when challenged by skeptics?

    OK, while you’re thinking that one over: I agree with you in principle, of course, that science is never a value-free endeavor. I’m even in vehement agreement with your demand that scientists be open about their value preferences when value preferences matter. But where, exactly, are value preferences that matter being kept hidden in the IPCC reports? Starting with WG1?

    - And whose value preferences should they come clean about? Or do you assume that all the scientists whose work goes into the IPCC report share the same value preferences?

    Comment by CM — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  211. Andreas B:”No, quite the opposite. I demand that scientists (and institutions, eg. IPCC) are open about their value preferences when value preferences matters (this is clearly the case with climate change).
    I simply argue for intellectual honestly and transparency.”

    Scientists overriding value – understanding the physical world. Everything else comes second.

    In climate science, it is now known with little uncertainty that substantial changes will occur, on the balance negative. Generally, humans decide to reduce negative consequences. However, the issue is complicated by the fact that the issue is global, so inexperts do not understand how well substantiated AGW is. What they will do is assign the wrong probabilities to the outcomes, substituting their own from their preconceived ideas, or based on propaganda from within their own self-reinforcing group. Market libertarians see global or government control of economy as unacceptable a priori. Coal industry sees this as a threat to their livelihood, a very negative consequence to themselves. Capitalists see AGW as something environmentalists use to demand costly measures (clean air and water, etc) which eat into their profits.

    The cure is education, or nature making things undeniably obvious.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:27 PM

  212. Andreas “One problem with the climate debate is that believers and sceptics both tend to think that values taint science”
    That may be what you and the skeptics believe, but the problem is when values are applied to the interpretation and use of science. My physics scientist brother was involved in US govt atomic physics research, not for the “value” of making bombs or providing nuclear energy technology, but for the “value” of investigating and understanding the phenomena, what the govt intended and what they did with the results is a seperate question, like it is with respect to what NASA does with the climate science they do, useful to the space program, agriculture, military planners and congressional policy makers, but that is the “value added” to the raw product.

    Comment by flxible — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:39 PM

  213. DanM wrote: “But, if you look at the cost of storing power for when the wind isn’t blowing (that’s why Texas stopped building wind farms when natural gas prices lowered), or looked at the high and relatively flat costs of solar power over the past 20 years, one sees that neither is close to being a cheap reliable source of energy.”

    If one looks at the facts, one finds that your comment is fiction.

    Texas has never “stopped building wind farms”.

    The costs of solar power (both PV and CSP) have significantly declined over the past 20 years; they are nowhere near “flat”.

    Nor is storage prohibitively costly, particularly thermal storage of energy from CSP power plants — but neither is it essential to large-scale deployment of wind and solar, given that multiple studies have found that a diversified, regional portfolio of renewable energy sources, managed through a smart grid, can provide 24×7 power that is at least as reliable as coal or nuclear power, even without storage.

    In my experience, the statements that deniers make about the state of renewable energy technologies are just about as ill-informed as their assertions about climate science.

    I wonder who might have an interest in misleading people about both the urgency of phasing out fossil fuels and about the availability of alternatives?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Feb 2010 @ 3:43 PM

  214. Tim Jones (176)

    You said:

    ” On the other hand, the climate auditors have no apparent political agenda, are doing this work for free, and have been playing a watchdog role, which has engendered the trust of a large segment of the population.

    The last sentence is patently ridiculous. I’m not sure why she’s currying favor with these blogs… so they’ll lay off?
    Whatever the case she’s lost my trust.

    I don’t think so. There are a lot of angry blogger. They are fed up with bureaucracy and climate science. They’re not supportive of Judith, but they prer her to you. As long as you stay here talking to yourselves you’ll miss out on this feature of our world. Judith talks to them which is why I think you should listen to her. You see Judith as a proxy for McIntyre, not as a Climate Scientist. Pity.

    Comment by John Peter — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:08 PM

  215. Andreas, I agree with you that values are important. But I think you are setting up a false dichotomy of denialist political values versus the scientist’s objective evidence. To attack evidence on political grounds is to reject science itself. Evidence can only be verified by scientific process, not poitical analysis.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:12 PM

  216. A comment for “The Media”, from a presentation by William R. Freudenburg of UC Santa Barbara at a panel discussion on “Understanding Climate-Change Skepticism: Its Sources and Strategies” at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the AAAS:

    Reporters need to learn that, if they wish to discuss “both sides” of the climate issue, the scientifically legitimate “other side” is that, if anything, global climate disruption is likely to be significantly worse than has been suggested in scientific consensus estimates to date.

    But reporting on that “side” of the “debate” is outside the “Overton window”, isn’t it?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Feb 2010 @ 4:13 PM

  217. Good to see that skeptics and the concensus agree on at least one thing.. viz recent Guardian reporting has been of very poor quality

    Comment by colin Aldridge — 25 Feb 2010 @ 6:26 PM

  218. Ron Taylor
    Hey, when did I say the ‘stealth mode’ thing you are talking about? :-). I am fervently hoping nonetheless to live long enough too! Touch wood, man!

    Gavin:
    Regarding your IPCC making no policy advocacy thing.

    If an IPCC official, acting in his/her capacity as a part of the IPCC, has made public statement/s, which is recorded by neutral media, in which there is distinct, explicit mention of specific, policy-based actions to be taken due to climate change, and if you are made aware of this, what would you do?

    Perhaps you would you then get off your ‘IPCC-does-no-advocacy’ high horse? Or will we all be in for more creative obfuscation? :)

    [Response: This is a confusion of yours. Everyone associated with the IPCC is also a private citizen and can say whatever they want. The IPCC reports hold the status they do as the voice of the IPCC because of the multiple levels of review and both the scientific and governmental level. No statement or interview by Thomas Stocker, Susan Solomon or Pachauri has anything like that level of review and cannot be assumed to be representative of the IPCC. What 'IPCC says' is what is in the reports. Nothing else. For instance, Pachauri has advocated that everyone become vegetarian. That's an opinion he is entitled to hold, but there is no call for such a policy in the IPCC reports. Equating his individual opinions to the IPCC is simply wrong. Might it be clearer if he refrained from giving his personal opinions? Sure, but he has as much right as anyone to voice his personal opinion - and I doubt you would have it any other way. - gavin]

    Mr SecularAnimist:
    Your claims about ‘renewable’ energy with its high-flown terms like ‘regional portfolios’, are unsubstantiated and wrong.

    Mr Levenson
    The winds of politics blow every which direction. Fiver years ago, climate scientists were struggling under the cruel yoke apparently. Today they have a sympathetic government whose President speaks in favor of ‘climate change’. If Barton was a McCarthy, then scientists should stop asking for federal climate money as a mark of protest. Integrity is after all, more important than scientific discovery. I don’t see that happening.

    Regards

    Comment by Anand — 25 Feb 2010 @ 7:00 PM

  219. John Peter, I think Tim Jones actually nailed it where Judith Curry is concerned. So you think granting credibility to utter nonsense is progress?

    I am saddened about this, since I once admired Judith.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 25 Feb 2010 @ 8:14 PM

  220. Barton and I had the exchange:

    Dan M: But, if you look at the cost of storing power for when the wind isn’t blowing (that’s why Texas stopped building wind farms when natural gas prices lowered), or looked at the high and relatively flat costs of solar power over the past 20 years, one sees that neither is close to being a cheap reliable source of energy.

    BPL: And yet 42% of all the new electrical generating capacity put in across the US last year was wind. 35% the year before.

    Un-huh. I know. Look, I was happy that wind power was working it Texas. It proved that, up to 5% generating capacity, a 3 cent/kWh subsidy was all it took for wind/natural gas plants to work together. Here’s how it works: natural gas was far more expensive than coal (about $10/thousand cubic feet for a while there). But, natural gas plants were half as expensive as coal plants. So, wind worked when teamed with natural gas capacity that only used the expensive fuel when the wind wasn’t blowing and demand was high.

    Then, the drop in natural gas prices came in early ’09. Projects that were already contracted were not stopped, but new projects weren’t put on line. You can see it easily in the following trend:

    2005 702
    2006 744
    2007 1617
    2008 2760
    2009 2290
    2010 302

    sourced at:

    http://www.awea.org/projects/
    http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_installed_capacity.asp

    I realize, BTW, that the 302 number is an under construction number, but I was very interested in Texas wind power ever since I started seeing wind turbine blades in the opposite lanes of the freeway on a regular basis.

    Nationwide, there are state subsidies and mandates….that’s why I used Texas as an example of wind power being ecconomically viable with only a 3 cent/kWh 2 years ago. Texas gave no subsidies, so if it works in Texas, it works with only that one subsidy. But, the counterexample I was given was that, once wind reaches about 15% of grid input, it can only be counted on for about 10% of nameplate capacity. This was from an long report by the German electrical utility which had the greatest fraction of its energy coming from wind power of any utility I know of…and it was around 15%. Unfortunately, I saved my posts, but not the post of the person arguing against wind power, so I don’t have the website for the report or even know if it is still up. But, a similar analysis is given at:

    http://lightbucket.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/the-capacity-credit-of-wind-power/

    I really liked the German source, and I understand if folks are skeptical that it even existed. But, ones belief or lack thereof will not change the validity of the analysis….just as whether my views that that original data could and would have been saved will not change whether the earth will warm.

    But, having said that, I realized that with high priced natural gas, and cheap natural gas plants, a modest drop in wind prices might make this tandum a possibility. But, with natural gas prices falling through the floor, there was no need for the wind…and I stopped seeing turbine blades.

    Comment by Dan M. — 25 Feb 2010 @ 9:10 PM

  221. For people who are wondering about the UEA and CRU position on the allegations against them, you could take a look at the latest document released, which is their submission to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry.

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/submission

    Comment by Ed — 25 Feb 2010 @ 11:22 PM

  222. VALUES

    210 CM,
    I would say that the IPCC in its entirety pretend to be free of values. The frequent claims to policy neutrality, disinterestedness, objectivity, etc. invoke that. The opposite would be The Union of Concerned Scientists. They clearly invoke the importance of science AND specific types of values. Noone thinks that they are disintereted etc. Realclimate invoke the same as the IPCC. To only deal with science, disinterested in values and politics, etc.

    I do not assume that all the scientists in the IPCC share the same value preferences. I am reading Schneider (science as a contact sport) right now, it shows explicitly that this is not the case.

    211 t_p_hamilton,
    Also for you, values comes first. As a physical scientist you give priority to physics :-)

    215 Ron Taylor,
    I am not sure what you are trying to say and why you think we disagree. I did not say that one should attack evidence on political grounds. That would be a case of not having an elaborated way of handling facts and values. To be able to separate the usually intertwined facts and values and to examine the facts as well as discuss the values would be the opposite. It is a shame that sceptics don´t do this and that they choose to attack facts rather than discuss values …

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:02 AM

  223. “While this has to be seen on a backdrop of an almost complete collapse in reporting standards across the UK media on the issue of climate change, it can’t be excused on the basis that the Mail or the Times is just as bad”

    Humour. There´s been no backdrop or collapse in reporting. Do you really think that you can change medias way of working? You think way to much of yourselfs. Media has been the same all the way, the change has been in the direction. The facts, the errors, exaggerations has been with us all along, but in the favour of your opinion. Any politician can tell you how fast it can change.

    Comment by Yoyoman — 26 Feb 2010 @ 2:23 AM

  224. Andreas Bjurström
    25 February 2010 at 1:33 PM

    However, sceptics are attacking in this way: You have values, you are bad. The climate scientist respond: No, I do not have any values. Don’t you dare to smear me. It is you that have values.

    That is not an accurate depiction of reality. This is more like it:

    However, sceptics are attacking in this way: You have allowed your work to be tainted by your values, you are bad. The climate scientist respond: No, I have followed strict methods to prevent that from happening. Don’t you dare to smear me. It is you that refuses to accept my results because of your values.

    The fact that people have values is the raison d’être of science. Could you wish for more recognition for the fact that values can compromise objectivity?

    Objectivity is both a duty and a right for a scientist. The scientist has a duty to objectively interpret the evidence and accurately and completely report it. But he has also the right that his work is evaluated with objectivity, that people will not let their opinion about the values of the scientist taint their objectivity regarding the work of that scientist. I am of the opinion that the latter part will become severely compromised as soon as you start formalising the ‘openness about values’ that you propose.

    Your idea sounds very reasonable in theory. But I have concerns about the practical side. I have a few questions for you about this.

    1. How do you see the practical implementation? Would every scientist have to maintain a publicly available “political and social CV” in which he says what party he votes for and what religion he practices and other things of interest?

    2. Who is going to decide on what is relevant for the scientist to report in his “political and social CV”?

    3. Will the “political and social CV’s” be audited for completeness and accuracy and, if so, by whom?

    4. If it is discovered that a scientist has been, let’s say, inaccurate in reporting his values, what would happen to his work? Would it have to be retracted?

    5. Since you can not extract the ‘average values’ from the different people working for and organisation, its values are a rational decision made in a board room and then written out by the PR department. Most institutions have such an ‘about us’ link on their website. This is the IPCC about us. What more would you like to see on that page?

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:28 AM

  225. I saw some of this online, and some in the Guardian Weekly (international summary of usually the best, this time the worst, of the week). In my response on my blog (also where I announced my petition to support scientists), I asked if The Guardian had been bought by Rupert Murdoch. They didn’t publish my letter containing this wording. Much more of this (rubbish reporting, not failing to publish my letter) and I will cancel my subscription.

    A key thing Pearce gets wrong (aside from being very confused about how science works in general) is supporting the denialist view that science is a matter of opinion. What a shame. I thought the UK had at least one good newspaper.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:32 AM

  226. Andreas Bjurström #204:

    I demand that scientists (and institutions, eg. IPCC) are open about their value preferences when value preferences matters (this is clearly the case with climate change).

    And what difference do you think this will make? Some climate scientists may have changed their politics in response to a particular side of politics taking an anti-science stance. What will happen if they all turn out to be libertarian Republicans? Will that turn the tide of denialism?

    The important thing to understand is that unlike politics or poetry or religion, science is not a matter of opinion. If the contrarian camp have evidence that overturns the theory, it will do so no matter what their point of view. If they have a theory that explains the evidence better than the mainstream, likewise.

    Science is not value free in the sense that you choose what to work on. However, anyone can apply the scientific method to overturn theories with no scientific basis (unless they live in a police state, or the opposition uses tricks like announcing new details too fast to counter). Tell us exactly how the contrarians do not have the opportunity to overturn the mainstream.

    Trying to turn everything into a matter of opinion is a strategy adopted by those with no scientific argument. Like the tobacco industry.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:46 AM

  227. Andreas, OK, now wait a minute. Who ever said that scientists do not have values. That’s absurd. There is a distinction, though, between the values of any particular scientist and the values of science. Indeed, one’s success as a scientist depends on how well one can put aside one’s personal agenda and advance understanding of the subject matter.

    There is a very big difference between saying that the values of individual scientists do not taint the science and saying science (or a scientist) has no values. That is the thing I think you are missing.

    As to the values of science itself, I think the biggest one is that there is an objective truth/reality and that it is important to have as good an understanding of that reality as is possible. That one can never reach perfect understanding of it is immaterial.

    The thing that you need to understand is that there are reasons why science is the way it is. The elements work together to produce in an economical fashion the most reliable knowledge human beings can possess about the physical world. When somebody like McIntyre or Michael Behe or Paul Feyerabend comes along and wants to change the way science is done, they are going to face hostility. Science ain’t broken. Those who want to change it are suspect.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:14 AM

  228. “212
    flxible says:
    25 February 2010 at 3:39 PM

    That may be what you and the skeptics”

    How about we change that to “you and the contrarians”.

    Andreas wants to ignore the science and deny the evidence by being contrary and repeatedly stating that psychology and political issues are the hidden elephant and we MUST ONLY look at them.

    It’s a sophist stance of denialism which AT BEST is contrary which gets an argument nowhere (cf Monty Python’s 10-minute argument sketch).

    But in no shape or form can it be skepticism.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:26 AM

  229. 228 CFU,
    Why these lies and distortion all the time? Is it doing the movement any good? I have NEVER ignored or denied “the evidence”. You and everyone else here know that, so why do you lie and say this? I have NEVER stated that ALL research should be focused on social science. I do not say that because I do not have such an opinion. I do NOT even want most research to be invested in the social sciences. BUT if we want to SOLVE the climate problem, all these billions spent on advanced climate models are not doing us much good. We DO need understanding of behaviour and politics etc if we want to find feasible ways forward. I guess you do not care about that. You only care about the physical science for its own sake, is that right?

    READ my posts here (do NOT intentionall disort everything I say)or my forthcoming article in the journal Climatic Change if you are interested in what I actually claim, there I have very extensive quantitative data on the issue of disciplinary bias and more elaborated discussion in the concequences of the lack of interdisciplinarity in climate research.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:00 AM

  230. Anand
    25 February 2010 at 7:00 PM

    Mr SecularAnimist:
    Your claims about ‘renewable’ energy with its high-flown terms like ‘regional portfolios’, are unsubstantiated and wrong.

    Lets see what SecularAnimist said:

    Texas has never “stopped building wind farms”.

    True: http://www.rncos.com/Blog/2010/02/US-Wind-Power-Industry-Added-10000-MW-New-Capacity-in-2009.html

    The costs of solar power (both PV and CSP) have significantly declined over the past 20 years; they are nowhere near “flat”.

    True: http://www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu24ee/uu24ee0j.htm

    Nor is storage prohibitively costly, particularly thermal storage of energy from CSP power plants — but neither is it essential to large-scale deployment of wind and solar, given that multiple studies have found that a diversified, regional portfolio of renewable energy sources, managed through a smart grid, can provide 24×7 power that is at least as reliable as coal or nuclear power, even without storage.

    Plausible. Fraunhofer recently released a study indicating that Germany can close 50% of its baseload capacity as a result of increasing wind and solar power (its in german, sorry): http://www.wind-energie.de/fileadmin/dokumente/Themen_A-Z/Erneuerbare-Strompotenziale/090915_BEE_IWES_Studie_PK_Hintergrund.pdf

    Not all renewable energy sources are variable. Hydro, geothermal, csp and bioenergy provide on-demand power. That is what SecularAnimist means by “portfolio”.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:11 AM

  231. Andreas, again, because you don’t give any sign of having read this the first time: you have a good idea. It’s an idea much promoted here for a long time, and one that has been an important idea since at least the late 1960s, because I recall it as part of the first Earth Day programs. It’s good to see it has propagated so far and been so widespread people think it’s their own as you do.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+interdisciplinary

    Now try _doing_ something about it instead of acting like nobody’s ever heard of the idea, please. You could be useful to the world by working on this.

    Telling people they’re wrong is exactly the opposite of accomplishing this kind of cooperation across disciplines. Look for something you share with the people, find a point of agreement, and work from there.

    If you have a better idea of how to accomplish more interdisciplinary work, please do share it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:17 AM

  232. Anand says “If Barton was a McCarthy, then scientists should stop asking for federal climate money as a mark of protest. Integrity is after all, more important than scientific discovery. I don’t see that happening.”

    Could you try to get serious here? Good lord. You have a threat that could wind up pushing civilization over the edge, and you think climate scientists should cave in the face of a pair of fascists from a state where a University President actually went before legislators to ask for money because he “wanted a University the football team could be proud of”!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:53 AM

  233. Andreas #222, I’m confused by your description of RC, because to me most of the people posting here come across as pretty passionate about their values and make no bones about having them. Which is why they bother to do this blog, I guess.

    Back to my second question, could you give an example or two from WG1 to illustrate how scientists’ value preferences matter to the science, and how coming clean about these values would improve matters?

    Comment by CM — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:09 AM

  234. Andreas, remember–some people here are actual climate scientists — they sign their work and most of their names are in the Contributors column in the right sidebar. Those are the people to pay attention to about your upcoming paper.

    There are also people with pseudonyms who say outrageous things; moderation is pretty light here, and a lot of dumb stuff gets said, because that’s the reality of public conversations.

    Remember, please, don’t take the worst behaved commenters, the ones exaggerating and pontificating, as the ones to respond to. That just encourages them (and they will say no it’s me or you who are doing that, sigh)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  235. Andreas: “READ my posts here”

    cf:

    “231
    Hank Roberts says:
    26 February 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Andreas, again, because you don’t give any sign of having read this the first time”

    Andy, try to make some sort of sense and I’ll try to make sense of it.

    You started with “The IPCC makes the impression that peer review is infallible”, I say “no it doesn’t”, you jump to “you obviously don’t understand science/political interface” and when asked how that happens, just start slagging me off and then “I’m not going to bother with you”.

    You haven’t yet made one solid sensible argument.

    Try that and I’ll start reading. But I’m not wasting the only life I have trying to figure your drive, out.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:10 PM

  236. Gavin
    “This is a confusion of yours. Everyone associated with the IPCC is also a private citizen and can say whatever they want…”

    I was already clear about this. No confusion here. :) Of course we are OK with individuals connected to the IPCC to make personal statements in their capacity as citizens of the world. It is the statements they make in their capacity as IPCC officials that concern us, don’t they?

    For example Pachauri has, as you pointed our, wriggled out his vegetarianism spiel using the ‘private citizen’ argument. Although his anti-meat Powerpoint presentations were detailed and included IPCC report-derived data and he is identified to the audience as being Chair of the IPCC. A private citizen who is the Chair of the IPCC – that makes the cut for his ethics, and we will take his word and allow that.

    The real question is, as before: What is to be done (by you) when such is not the case?

    [Response: But I reject the idea that Pachauri in whatever capacity can 'speak for what the IPCC' has concluded on matters of science or policy other than in straight forward summarising. He may be Chair of the IPCC which gives him a managerial role, but his personal opinions are not the reports. The reports are 'what the IPCC says', Pachauri's statements are not. The IPCC reports are open to anyone to use in a presentation, and you can be correctly described as holding a particular job without implying that your organisation approves of your message. For instance, I am perfectly at liberty to describe myself as working for NASA in the blurb in my book, but not to imply that NASA has endorsed the publication or that it is an official communication of any sort. - gavin]

    Ms van der Bom I agree that there is literature that supports your plausibilites, like you say yourself. But it is a pipedream to conclude that these sources of energy will hold up any grid, without the ‘smartness’ put into it. All the ‘smart grid’ ideas that I’ve seen are nothing but consumption caps, which defeats the original argument then and there. I won’t argue this anymore as I feel it may be off-topic.

    Regards

    Comment by Anand — 26 Feb 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  237. Let me try one last time to explain why it was possible to compile meaningful raw data sets, back in the ’80s, that would have straightforwardly fit on storage media available at the time. I am very familiar with the problem, having to work with large data set back in 77-82 time frame. I pointed out that, one could, even if one generously gave half the space to comments, store reasonably precise hourly data for 1kbyte per station per day.

    Nowadays, storage of a day’s reading from all the stations in the world is large. IIRC, I was told that the tarballs are now about 280 Mbytes/day. That’s not surprising, we’ve got space to burn now, and the fact that each file has a 512 byte header record “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar_(file_format)” is no big deal today.

    But, back then, we worried a lot about size. We spent days on compression techniques. And, I thought that my suggestion for storing hourly raw data from a station was a reasonable one. Indeed, hourly data shouldn’t be needed to determine climate questions. If the CDC were to say that they compressed hourly data to averages over 4 hours, and had only 1 line (80 bytes of commments), then the requirement would be dropped to 200 bytes/day.

    But, let’s go with 1000. That means, when there were 3000 stations, we’d have 3 Mbytes/day. With tapes from the ’80s holding 100 Mbytes, that’s slightly more than 1 tape per year.

    But, going back in time, there certainly weren’t 3000 sets of hourly data from the 1800s. So, the entire set of raw data could be kept, with half the space alloted to comments on 100 tapes. I’ve walked in rooms where our group had that many tapes stored. If the data were considered important, grad students, not movers, would be responsible for the data. Indeed, I remember transmitting the last bit of my thesis data as boxes of cards because I didn’t want any unlikely problems reading Fermilab nominal tape formats to add a week to my work. I drove home from doing the scanning and measuring myself with the punch cards in boxes besides me. Granted, this is an exreme case, tapes were used extensively in the High Energy Physics community, but it gives an example of the care we were trained to take.

    So, what am I accusing the of? Sloppyness. Their craftsmanship was not up to the standards I was told was expected of experiemental scientists. I falsely assumed, when I took their data, that they had done all this routine stuff. It was just part of the normal craftsmanship expected of good experimental scientists.

    The problem with merging corrected data sets, with additional corrections into other corrected data sets, and then continuing the process is that one offers the opportunity for error to creep into the data with no chance, save going back and starting all over. And, since we are talking about 30 years of work, that’s not a trivial feat…especially since negociations were needed to even get some of the data.

    The question was raised “why don’t you do it?” The answer should be obvious, I don’t have the personal resources or connections to do it. I had, falsely, thought the CRU practiced first rate technique in the handing of data.

    Now, to be clear, I am accusing the CRU of nothing but poor craftmanship. I really don’t expect the errors that crept into the massaged data set to be based on any political agenda. I just expect that, with that amount of data, errors will creep in when judgements are made concerning the merging of data, the rejection of data, the correction of data. I’ve never ever seen vast amounts of data processed without some sort of error being made that could later be corrrected if the origional raw data were still available. Scientists are not perfect, that’s why safeguards against errors being undetectable and ucorrectable are so important to us.

    Let me close with a story. Back when I started, our group showed the production of charmed quarks in high energy neutrino interactions at twice the rate predicted by the electroweak theory. Another group, running a very similar experiment, found the rate predicted. There was clear conflict between the two groups. My major professor asked the lead physicist of the other group over to look at the bubble chamber photographs, which were the raw data. They went over every event that we labled as containing the production of a charmed quark. The other physicist looked at the data, looked at our processing, and agreed that every event we called a charmed quark event, he would also call a charmed quark event.

    The result was that both groups scheduled experiments with a higher intenstiy, higher energy neutrino beam, which resulted in many more events. It turned out that the Standard Model was right. Our group’s results were a spurious statistical fluctuation. But, IIIRC, at 2 sigma, it not to be ignored.

    Because we had the raw data, we could resolve the conflict as scientists. Without it, no-one would have known if the events were real. That is why the raw data is so important. And, I think I have shown the raw climate data could have been kept with the hardware that was available, in the same manner my group kept raw data in HEP. (If there is a dispute of this, I’d very much apppreciate being shown why my example of a raw data set would not have been sufficient, or why tapes could not hold that amount of data by, say, 1983-1984. If that can be shown, I’ll have learned something, and will be happy to admit that there were factors that I didn’t see.

    Comment by Dan M. — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  238. Ed #221,

    there’s now also the correspondence of EAU with ICO, confirming what I suspected all the time: there was no “finding” by ICO of an FoI breach. Another piece of Leakegate.

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/ICOcorrespondence

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Feb 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  239. I found David Wilson’s comments on fred Pearce puzzling, particularly David’s interpretation of the youtube clip. Pearce has been writing on global warming since at least the early ’90s and is regarded in the UK as a leading journalist in the field. He would therefore be in a good position to do a 24 hour blitz for WWF–what’s the problem here? Idiot’s guides to GW are needed to inform the general public(of course ‘idiot’ here is used non-pejoratively.)

    Comment by jim woolridge — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:01 PM

  240. > Dan M. says: 26 February 2010 at 1:40 PM
    > Let me try one last time to explain why it was possible
    > to compile meaningful raw data sets ….

    Put a cost estimate on that, as it would have cost at the time with the available knowledge, compare that to the budget that did not include any such work, and ask yourself why anyone at the time would have imagined the need to keep such _copies_ given that the data providers would provide _updated_ files to the next person requesting such.

    You know ‘Rule One of Database Management’? One record; many pointers.

    Pick any other area of science — tobacco, asbestos, evolution, lead, hormone mimics — and you won’t find the kind of ‘skepticism’ you see about climate, nor the sort of effort to paint the researchers as evil.

    Look at the research about ‘skepticism’ in other areas — see anything comparable?

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22sound+science%22

    Yes it could have been done.
    No, it wasn’t imaginable that anyone could need or justify spending on it.

    If you want access to the relevant data, you request it from the source.
    Not from anyone who has an old snapshot taken sometime in the past.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Feb 2010 @ 3:27 PM

  241. Hank Roberts wrote:

    “Put a cost estimate on that”

    Well, let’s see. They had to have the raw data in digital form, right? Otherwise, they would have had to look at several sheets of paper and average them in their heads, and then write a number on their computer. That is so bad, the resultant data would have been worthless. I’m sure someone has worked that way, but let’s give the CRU a bit of credit. I’m accusing them of being sloppy, but not stupid sloppy beyond belief.

    So, they have the data, they just need to deal with the fact that they had different time frames for input, different types of data, etc., and needed to compress the data If it were my project, I’d reserve one number for NULL to handle the holes in the data.

    So, the problem would be writing the compression program in FORTRAN. Guess what? I’ve done something similar in the early 80s, writing a bit to bit translation FORTRAN program in a week. If I were in charge, I’d make it a grad student project to put together the data base. Pay a couple of grad students to write the program and put together the raw data. Grad students are always grunt labor in US universities, I made $550/month working 70 hour weeks back in ’81. Are you arguing that grad students were paid 2000 pounds/month back then in England, and only worked 40 hour weeks? My British colleagues never told me they had it that easy. :-)

    Two grad students, half a year should do it, I’d think.

    Remember, I’ve done very similar things myself, writing data bases in FORTRAN in the late ’70s, and processed megabytes of data from 40k+ frames of bubble chamber film. Once the data base is set up, and the data transferred to it via the software, it is merely a matter of turning the crank to compress the data. The time comsuming part of the work was analyzing the data and making judgements, not turning the crank to get the data in the data base.

    So, yea, I have an idea.

    “Pick any other area of science”

    I just did: physics. That’s the point. I was doing similar work _at the same time_ in physics, and I shudder to think how the lead post doc would have chewed me out if he ever heard that I was _planning_ on doing something like that. If I did it, it probably would have meant I would not have my Phd. I would have been sent off packing with no sympathy from my colleauges.

    Comment by Dan M. — 26 Feb 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  242. Nice 20:20 hindsight on data preservation going on here.

    Dan, right now, go restore your data from the 80s. Don’t say another word, just go retrieve the data.

    Can you do that?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:51 PM

  243. Dan, I forgot to specify: Restore -all- the data and for that matter anything else that touched that data you gathered in the 1980s. If any is missing, by your own standard that won’t do, it’s not acceptable. So you need to get it all, raw detector data, processed data, code used to process it, the whole enchilada.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:55 PM

  244. Yep, that’s a fair challenge. Got your PhD data handy now?
    Can you get it?
    Is it worth it?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:31 PM

  245. Remember, I’ve done very similar things myself, writing data bases in FORTRAN in the late ’70s, and processed megabytes of data from 40k+ frames of bubble chamber film. Once the data base is set up, and the data transferred to it via the software, it is merely a matter of turning the crank to compress the data. The time comsuming part of the work was analyzing the data and making judgements, not turning the crank to get the data in the data base.

    Then they’d ask for copies of the 40K+ frames of bubble chamber film.

    So the non-proprietary data’s available, in a database, at GHCN, and the UK FOI act allows rejection a FOI request if 1) the data is freely available from another source or 2) there are legal constraints making it impossible to fulfill the request, i.e. non-disclosure agreements in this case.

    This appears to cover the available raw data.

    Before McIntyre began getting his followers to flood UEA with FOI requests (about 40 over one weekend, for instance), he got a rejection of his appeal, and in that rejection he was told that it was because some of the data was proprietary and not owned by UEA CRU, AND THAT THE UNIVERSITY WAS WORKING TO GET THE OWNERS TO AGREE TO THE RELEASE OF THE DATA, and that he just had to be patient, in essence.

    This appears to be a very reasonable basis for rejection, and a reasonable response.

    Note that UEA CRU was under no obligation to try to get the owners of the data to release it. They – the compliance people, mind you – could’ve simply rejected it and said “sorry”.

    Care to guess what McIntyre’s response was?

    And note that CRU says that owners of about 80% of the proprietary data have agreed to release it.

    Nice 20:20 hindsight on data preservation going on here.

    Dan, right now, go restore your data from the 80s. Don’t say another word, just go retrieve the data.

    Can you do that?

    Along with any e-mails or other correspondence related to collection and processing of that data.

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Feb 2010 @ 9:58 PM

  246. Hank Roberts says: 26 February 2010 at 9:31 PM

    Yep, that’s a fair challenge. Got your PhD data handy now?

    Said PhD without a doubt obtained with the assistance of copious baskets of government money. Particle accelerator==taxpayer dollars. I hope he can do the restoration; if there were any significant results even more money will have been spent further down the road and if Dan can’t restore his data that means everything’s in doubt now.

    Biting my nails.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:26 PM

  247. Dan, I was at Fermilab in the ’80s. They did have a tape vault for storing data from all experiments. However the tape vault and computer center had a staff of about a dozen, and if you wanted data, they had to go and physically retrieve the data by hand, mount the tape and then you could access the data.

    I know that by the end of my thesis work some of those tapes I was using were getting pretty ratty. I very much doubt you could lay your hands on the data I used 20 years ago. And particle physics was pioneering in its emphasis on storing and archiving data. I also remember how revolutionary it was when first NASA and then the Fermilab Collider Detector Facility decided that they would share data with the public–after two years.

    The entire CRU now has a staff of 13, and it was smaller in the past. The FOI requests foisted on them for data that were already available on the web would have cost them a man-year of work. And this from a man who has published precisely one peer-reviewed paper, and that of mediocre quality. Why not let the scientists do science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:43 PM

  248. OK, the multiple comments on my research raise a fair question. When can you throw out the origional data? A reasonable criteria is when the results of the work are no longer interesting. A good rule of thumb is 10 years after the project is done, superceded by other work, etc. In other words, when it’s long past the time that the results of the research are if interest to people.

    I have destroyed my copy of origional data sets, but only to comply with a contract that said that I must do that after the completion of my contract, after handing a copy to the client. In fact, I broke the letter of the law on the contract (with their verbal OK) by keeping my copy until they verified that they had checked the data I sent to them and could read it all. I have kept origional data sets for another company about 10 years now, and am very thankful that I did, because I was able to go back to them to double check my work. It turned out they also kept copies, but I felt good that I didn’t make them dig them up.

    So, going back to my thesis, the school took and owned the origional data. When they thought my thesis topic was no longer important to HEP, I guess they got rid of it. It sits on my bookshelf, but its now all backwater stuff.

    But, I’d argue that the temperature records before 2000 are still of value. Does anyone argue that the compiled data set of the CRU is worthless?

    So, if the CRU’s temperature history becomes irrelvant, I would have no problem with them waiting a few years to be sure, and then disposing of it. But, they got rid of it while using information they derived from it on a regular basis.

    Finally, I’ll give you this. If a graduate student working at the CDC compiled raw data, and left the raw data with them when he got a job elsewhere after doing his dissertation, I hold him totally faultless for the loss of the data when someone else threw it out. Is that fair enough?

    Comment by Dan M. — 26 Feb 2010 @ 10:50 PM

  249. Dan M. says: 26 February 2010 at 10:50 PM

    A myriad of excuses, but long story short: “I talk but I don’t walk.”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:17 PM

  250. DanM@241 re 242,243,244 – note that Doug and Hank just wish to audit your work, on the chance that your PhD contains some miscalculations or statistical “tricks” – they don’t care if the conclusions you reached were valid :)

    Comment by flxible — 26 Feb 2010 @ 11:40 PM

  251. Response to #91
    “Maybe it’s different in your field, but while it isn’t commonplace, it is not rare for reviewers to sign their reviews. People do it so that there can be follow-up on technical points, or because the review makes use of very specific knowledge and anonymity is pointless, or simply as a general rule (not everyone is happy with anonymous reviewing for instance). This is not any sign of a problem and it is up to the individual reviewer to decide to do this or not (AGU has a box you can tick for instance), and it is not up to the editor to second guess that decision.”

    As a scientist from a different area of research I am shocked by this answer. It sounds to me as if Briffa followed common practice and hence did nothing wrong. However common practice does not sound like good practice.
    Anonymity is integral to the peer-review process to avoid making it a personal matter. One of the common criticisms of the peer review process is that it has a tendency to suppress minority opinion, without anonymity you are strengthening this tendency. “I give you a good review sign my name to it and you will be more inclined to give me a good review the next time”, “I want to keep in the good book of the big names in the field so cannot be too positive about a paper contradicting them” etc.
    You say that reviewers makes use of specific knowledge that makes anonymity pointless – that suggest to me that reviewers make use of their own unpublished research when reviewing, this is unacceptable because the author have not had access to this data when writing their paper and this data has not yet gone through the peer review process itself – no research is finished until published!
    Any suggestion that the review process should result in follow up discussions is also not good practice as it compromises the anonymity and these discussions can wait till after publication –most journals do this pretty quickly online after the paper is accepted. Publication also requires you to give access to your data, by submission to appropriate databases, willingness to give away new bacteria strains created for the research etc – a necessity for others to be able to replicate your results, which greatly increases the value of these follow up discussions.
    Peer review is not perfect but if you do not aim for high standards you are never going to get decent standards, and I am clearly not the only one concerned about the review process in the field of climate science. See the submission by Institute of Physics to the Parliamentary committee:
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3902.htm

    [Response: Having the potential to be anonymous is very important. But it is not essential for a good peer review process. Of the reviews I have received that were signed (maybe 10 to 20% of them), almost every one has been courteous, constructive and substantive. That people are willing (though not forced) to put their name to the review enhances it's credibility for both the authors and editor. Anonymity is important - since it allows one to criticise friends or big names without repercussions, but not essential. A review I am working on now will be signed because the submission is a direct comment on a specific paper of mine, and I am adding further calculations to address a point that the authors made. There is no point in remaining anonymous in such a case. Anonymity can be abused, of course, by people pretending to be uninterested parties when they are not, or through the use of intemperate language, or by people making specious criticisms that they know they don't ever have to defend. But overall, my experiences with the peer review system in this field (as an author on dozens of papers and reviewer on dozens more) have been very positive. The reviews have measurably improved the papers that were published (both mine and others) and for the ones that were not (again, both mine and others), the literature is better off. Absolutist statements such as yours just don't fit comfortably in the real world, and I doubt would improve the outcome if adopted. - gavin]

    Comment by aka_kat — 27 Feb 2010 @ 3:22 AM

  252. Furher to #251 (asa_kat): An anecdote from my personal experience. A recent paper of mine had two reviewers, the first remained anonymous and was restricted to a few typos, a request to remove some extraneous references and aome other minor points. The second – a professor of stats chose not to remain anonymous and invited further discussion on his concerns about my analysis – the result of that productive (and at times robust) discussion was a much better paper, a greater understanding on my part of some more advanced statistical methods and some interesting ideas for further work on my data. None of these would have been possible if the second reviewer had retained his anonymity.

    Comment by Chris S. — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:50 AM

  253. Re #241 “Two grad students, half a year should do it, I’d think.” Oh for the money to employ two grad students for half a year, the things we could do with that extra bit of help. Of course we’re lucky in my group to be able to hold on to the staff we have let alone get any more in. Another round of redundancies coming up too…

    Comment by Chris S. — 27 Feb 2010 @ 5:55 AM

  254. DM (220):

    [Number of wind start-ups in Texas, apparently: -BPL]
    2005 702
    2006 744
    2007 1617
    2008 2760
    2009 2290
    2010 302

    BPL: One word: “Recession.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 7:14 AM

  255. AB (229),

    What’s the point? Why are you looking for these biases among climate scientists unless you intend to argue from those biases to the scientific findings being wrong? If you think the scientific findings are correct, who the hell cares about the scientists’ biases? Or what they had for breakfast the morning of publication? Either they got the right answer or they didn’t.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 7:18 AM

  256. #251 response
    Dear Gavin, I am sorry that you misunderstood me – the described peer review process is not a result of my fantasy it is my real world experience of what peer review is like. Like you my experiences are mainly positive which is why I believe the process is so important that it is worth speaking up to defend it.
    You say that the possibility of anonymity is vital yet if you choose not to remain anonymous that enhances the credibility of that review – that is the kind of argument that makes me worry about making anonymity non-compulsory. Also the reviewer is not anonymous to the editor and hence there is a level of accountability there, however small. I have seen examples of editors overruling reviewer who clearly had a different agenda than objective review.
    Finally a question – you say that you are currently reviewing a paper that is a direct comment on a paper of yours. The fact that you are saying this seems to indicate that this might be more commonplace than just a one-off mistake by the editor, can that really be the case? And do you genuinely see nothing wrong with this?

    [Response: I'm not following you. What is the 'one-off' mistake by the editor you are referring to? Do you mean that I shouldn't be reviewing and responding to a comment submitted on a paper of mine? Well, I respectfully disagree. This is absolutely standard practice since it is an effective way to see whether there is a real issue or merely a misunderstanding. However, the editor certainly has additional independent reviewers on the submission, and I am sure that he is cognizant of the fact that my opinion should not be determining given the potential conflict of interest. If I gave this an anonymous review, I think that would be far more problematic since the author would not be cognizant of where it came from - it would be akin to sock-puppetry on the internet. In such a case therefore, openness and transparency can make it clear to everyone concerned what is going on, and they can form their own judgments on whether my review is useful. I have submitted a number of direct comments on papers that have appeared and in every case that submission was reviewed and responded to by the authors concerned and both submissions and responses reviewed by independent parties. - gavin]

    Comment by aka_kat — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:37 AM

  257. RL
    “You have a threat that could wind up pushing civilization over the edge, and you think climate scientists should cave in the face of a pair of fascists…”

    Your ‘civilization-over-the-edge’ trope obviously allows any rationalization, any logic to prevail. :). Honesty and level-headedness obviously get thrown by the wayside at some point.

    Inhofe and Barton have turned into fascists in your mind, precisely because they went senatorial on Mann, and thereby Mann does not have to reply to such fascists!

    The pre-designation of inconvenient political and scientific opponents into a no-touch vilifcation category…. I wonder who is practising McCarthyism here.

    “The CRU has a staff of 13…”
    We have so few staff,..McInytre knows this and flooded us with FOI requests…this is a wrong reason to file requests…therefore we don’t have to reply to FOI. And he is not a good scientist too…he has only one GRL paper…

    Gavin
    So Pachauri is not the IPCC. Susan Solomon obviously is not. Pachauri, by your own words is ‘IPCC manager’. Is that ok?

    When ‘Glaciergate’ story broke, Pachauri said that he cannot be responsible for the report content, the lead authors of that chapter should be. The lead authors then threw Hasnain in the line of fire. Hasnain then said, “I was speculating, but why did Fred Pearce have to put down a number ’2035′ on my speculation?’ So, by this logic Fred Pearce and New Scientist are the IPCC? Why don’t you declare there is nothing called the IPCC- it is just a bunch of secretaries and a manager? Curiously enough, the IPCC goes poof! – out of existance when problems arise.

    I am interested to see where this reducto ad absurdum argument leads us all.

    [Response: 3 volumes and 4000 pages did not go 'poof'. Those are what 'the IPCC says' - not Pachauri, Solomon or Hasnain (who I don't think had any role in IPCC). The lead authors on that chapter and the review editors did not sufficiently follow their roles and the existing comprehensive guidelines were not fully followed. The current heads of WGII correctly took responsibility for that, issued a erratum and promised to ensure that procedures are better followed in future reports. However, if Chris Field said that the date should be 2350 or 2530 or whatever, that still wouldn't be 'what IPCC says'. You will just have to wait until the next report to get an update on that and there are no short cuts. - gavin]

    Comment by Anand — 27 Feb 2010 @ 8:50 AM

  258. In response to fixible #250. I think your point is very valid. Without the ability to audit my work, there is always the chance the my committee was comprised of less than observant folks, and I pulled one over on them. That’s fair enough. There are people with Phds in physics who I have had work for me who’s work was substandard….I have no idea why their committee passed them.

    But, my point about the data is not to audit the work in the sense that I think that, without the raw data, I must suspect that the CRU applied biased corrections towards the data in order to fake global warming. I would guess that the odds on this are in the 1 in a billion range. (If anyone thinks this is an insultingly high estimate, it’s off the cuff and I’d be happy to read why someone thinks the odds are lower than this).

    But, I think it highly likely that they didn’t do the best job possible correcting the data. Why? I had just read some really interesting stuff on Jeff Master’s Wunderblog about how anti global warming folks showed that a majority (75%) of US stations are placed in less than ideal areas, and that this might contribute to the measurement of warming.

    OK, if true, that sounds like a major problem. Clearly, the raw data would be needed here.

    Fortunately, it was available. And, it turns out that when a climatologist looked at the data from their “good” and their “bad” stations, he found out that the “bad” stations showed less warming over the last 40 years than the “good” stations. The reason was that there was a strong correlation bewteen using a more accurate temperature measuring device at the better stations, and that the “bad” stations tended to use a thermometer that had a small error in the gain of it’s measurement: they didn’t measure the full temperature range. Thus, the data from those thermometers would have to be renormalized to take this effect into account.

    Without raw data, this would be impossible. If corrected data, without the correction function included were given, we would have an uncertainty in the data that we don’t have now.

    Obviously, since these were fairly recent US measurements, the raw data was still there. My point is that, since the historical temperature trend is an active investigation, keeping the raw data would allow new research relating to the original measurements to be incorporated into the analysis. One would recorrect the raw data, and then go. If there was a difference over which correciton to use, both would be run and the differences in the final results would be seen. If they were negligible (say +/- 0.01C differences in warming in one province in France), then the community would spend few resources in resolving this difference. If they were noticable (say +/- 0.05C difference in global warming worldwide), then solving this problem would be an important task for the scientific community.

    I’ll readily admit, if the university threw out the original data, then if my results contradicted other experiments, I’d have a hard time showing that they were right. But, alas, my work on 300 Gev proton-neon interactions have long since been eclipsed by high energy heavy ion collider results, and folks are not hanging on every number in my thesis. :-)

    Just like in my field, we now know more about correcting raw data than we knew 30 years ago. It’s a pity the CRU doesn’t have the raw data so we can apply our improved knowledge. No conspiricy theory needed here, just the assumption that, in science, the next guy/gal can add something to your work.

    Comment by Dan M. — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:12 AM

  259. Anand, You don’t get it. Inhofe and Barton are trying to impose by legal means and intimidation an orthodoxy that is not supported by evidence. This is Lysenkoism! Politicians do not belong in the scientific process: PERIOD.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:14 AM

  260. #256
    Of course an author should have the right to respond to a commentary to his/her article; this is hopefully common sense and little to do with peer review. I was mistakenly thinking you were talking about peer review of a paper. I would regard it as an error by any editor to send a paper to a reviewer who would have a direct interest in the publication/rejection of a paper.

    [Response: Again, I disagree. As long as all interests are clear, it can be very useful for the editor to know what the criticised authors think. The editor is under no obligation to follow the recommendation. This is a situation where there is an inevitable conflict between the original authors rights not to be unfairly trashed, and the criticising authors wishes to be dealt with objectively. I fail to see how more information (whose provenance is clear) taken with additional independent reviews is harmful to the process of helping the editor make a fair decision. Take the situation where a comment is padded out somewhat and submitted as a new paper - is it your position that it is absolutely right for the criticised author to have seen the paper as a comment, and absolutely wrong for them to see it as a new paper? Even if the difference is a completely orthogonal extra section of analysis? That seems like a pointless distinction, and so cases like that are always going to require the editors to exercise judgment. Which is, after all, their role here. - gavin]

    Comment by aka_kat — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:50 AM

  261. Dan M. says, “But, my point about the data is not to audit the work in the sense that I think that, without the raw data, I must suspect that the CRU applied biased corrections towards the data in order to fake global warming.”

    OK, now, to your credit, you do at least suggest it is improbable. But, a question: If you suspect the integrity of the researchers in the slightest, then why would you trust that the original data you get from them as a source had not been altered? Would you not have to go to the original source to compare the data received from the suspect source? If so, why not do so to begin with and do a fully independent analysis?

    And if you can’t get access to the data, what could you do? Well, you could look to any of the 4 main datasets and see if you get consistent results. You could look at ice melting, phenological data, etc. and see if they are qualitatively consistent. Come on, this is science, you know how it’s done!

    And you can look into the allegations of the surface stations project–deftly deflated here:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/about/response-v2.pdf

    And you’ve almost got it right–science doesn’t tend to dwell on past results. Instead it improves on them. That’s one way you can tell the difference between science and anti-science. Science marches on, while anti-science keeps “auditing” the same results over and over and over again.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  262. BPL (254), it’s not intuitively obvious why a general recession would cause a 80% decrease in new power generation. Power requirements are non-cyclical and follow economic cycles poorly. Though power is not perfectly non-cyclical and possibly the new wind generation is picking up most of the minor reductions in expected demand. Your thoughts?

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:17 PM

  263. Ray Ladbury wrote: “This is Lysenkoism!”

    This brings up a rather interesting bit of information. As many, but not all, know, Lysenkoism had a lot to do with millions starving to death in the Soviet Union. In opposition to conventional evolutionary theory which uses (correctly of course) natural selection, they thought they could train generations of wheat to produce abundent harvests in colder temperatures by subjecting “parent” generations to cold. The classic example is “Momma giraffe streatches her neck for leaves, causing baby giraffe to have a longer neck.

    This had been well falsfied by the time it was used; the USSR just ignored data. They had what ammounts to a post modern view of science: it is not an objective model of the world, it is part of politics. That’s why they rejected “Jewish physics” until the A-bomb exploded.

    However, what’s really neat is that, recently, scientists have found a gene that is responsible for changing the mutation rate. And, this gene’s actions are influenced by the environment.

    Clearly, this isn’t an overthrow of evolution; it is a refinement of it. I just think it’s a neat example of how someone can show how even a strongly faslfied theory can have a germ of truth in it, and how good scientists can be open to refinements.

    Comment by Dan M. — 27 Feb 2010 @ 12:59 PM

  264. [edit - this has gone too far]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 4:08 PM

  265. Dan M (258): It’s a pity the CRU doesn’t have the raw data so we can apply our improved knowledge.

    BPL: Read my lips: 95% of the data the CRU used is in the public domain, the other 5% is available from the same national met services they got it from. You want the data–go get it yourself.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Feb 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  266. Anne van der Born Tim Jones

    You can add the SF Examiner to your list of mistaken MSMs, or you can notice that climate-gate is, in fact, spreading:

    “Faced with falling public confidence in climate science, the United Nations announced it would conduct a review of its climate arm, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The panel’s work has come under heavy fire in recent months and its leader, Rajendra Pachauri, now is lacking support from international climate ministers themselves…”
    http://www.examiner.com/x-25061-Climate-Change-Examiner~y2010m2d26-UN-announces-independent-review-of-IPCC-climate-agency-as-skepticism-grows

    Comment by John Peter — 27 Feb 2010 @ 9:08 PM

  267. 231 Hank Roberts,
    Tnx for the link and the advice. The notion of interdisciplinarity is actually a couple of decades older than the earth day, it sure was not my idea. I especially liked the “Bridging the divides” post.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:19 PM

  268. Tim Jones (176)

    Joe Romm is doing alarm and scarem, the 20th century approach to CS. My opinion is that it won’t work this time, the winters are too cold.

    “Science” is supposed to have review by independent practitioners to avoid mistakes. Audits are supposed to do the same, avoid mistakes. I was trying to get you to accept internal auditors like Curry (yes, and McIntyre also). Instead I guess you’re going to have to learn to live without side auditors. Maybe it won’t be as bad as I expect.

    Comment by John Peter — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:12 PM

  269. 255 Barton Paul Levenson,
    The point is that I want to say something on how disciplinary bias has implications on how we understand, evaulate and respond to climate change.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 27 Feb 2010 @ 11:37 PM

  270. Anne van der Born (188)

    Thank you for reading Curry’s whole letter.

    I appreciate your very complete and annotated examples of your problem attempting to convince stubborn blogger/authors to look at the facts and then to express themselves more clearly. Although I have no understanding of the specific focus of your differences, I can certainly feel your pain.

    I agree that truthful and correct statement of facts is basic to good science. I hope that Prof Curry shares that view and tries to pass on these same ideals and practice to her students

    I am becoming more aware of the nature of dueling blogs. Your reaction to Curry’s letter seems to be in part due to where it appeared – watts – and who it mentioned – McIntyre. Perhaps Curry was more interested in attracting and retaining good grad students than in trying to get climate science right. I could understand that because my grandson now tells me he is changing his major from environmental engineering partly because of all the bickering.

    Since so much of climate science seems to depend on personalities and history rather than particular scientific facts or judgments, I give myself almost no chance of convincing RC bloggers that internal auditors like Curry (and McIntyre) could be any better than external attacks (and auditing) by government representatives and committees.

    Many thanks for your successful efforts in and contributions to improving my education.

    Comment by John Peter — 28 Feb 2010 @ 12:51 AM

  271. AB: I want to say something on how disciplinary bias has implications on how we understand, evaulate and respond to climate change.

    BPL: No doubt it does, but since that has no relevance to whether the scientific findings are correct or not, I’ll continue to ignore it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Feb 2010 @ 6:46 AM

  272. Dan M. on Lysenkoism: “I just think it’s a neat example of how someone can show how even a strongly faslfied theory can have a germ of truth in it, and how good scientists can be open to refinements.”

    Wrong. Lysenkoism was utterly, irremediably false–so bad it wasn’t even wrong. There is nothing surprising about this discovery. It has nothing to do with inheritance of acquired characteristics ala Lysenko.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Feb 2010 @ 9:41 AM

  273. Rod B. says, “BPL (254), it’s not intuitively obvious why a general recession would cause a 80% decrease in new power generation. Power requirements are non-cyclical and follow economic cycles poorly.”

    Rod, go to a bank and try to get a lo-an–for any purpose. Report back to us on what you find. Capital is a coward.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Feb 2010 @ 10:28 AM

  274. John Peter said: (268)

    “Joe Romm is doing alarm and scarem, the 20th century approach to CS. My opinion is that it won’t work this time, the winters are too cold.”

    You do realize that December, January, and most likely February have been record warm for their respective months according to satellite data, right? (data analyzed by that arch-Warmist Roy Spencer and his group :) ) Granted, their records only go back to 1979, but still. The instrumental record also shows it was very warm globally the last 3 months. Not only have the last 3 months of temp data *not* been something embarrassing for proponents of AGW to try to explain away, it’s been really warm overall. It shows how easy it is for people to look out their windows and think what is going on where they are is what is happening over the whole planet.

    Comment by RobM — 28 Feb 2010 @ 10:49 AM

  275. Glacier Repeat photos.

    Photographic documentation of recent glacier loss worldwide. How does one argue with this?

    http://doublexposure.net/photos.html

    http://www.extremeicesurvey.org/index.php/galleries/

    http://www.swisseduc.ch/glaciers/big_melt/index-en.html

    http://nsidc.org/cgi-bin/glacier_photos/glacier_photo_search.pl?collection=repeat

    http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/files/norock/repeatphoto/Pairs/RepeatPhoto_pairs_Fullset_compr.pdf

    Comment by Ron R. — 28 Feb 2010 @ 11:25 AM

  276. Oh that’s right, now the professional skeptics (well some of ‘em at least) acknowledge glacier loss but claim that it is being caused by “geothermal activity”, (anything but man).

    http://tinyurl.com/yzkoqer

    Comment by Ron R. — 28 Feb 2010 @ 11:34 AM

  277. Dan M. says: 27 February 2010 at 10:12 AM

    That’s so much better than getting lost in the weeds over storage technology that has been melted into scrap and is long gone.

    Dan, everybody seems to agree the most raw of station data and thus arguably the best data still exists. A lot of reasonable people could also agree the best way to attack possible problems with CRU’s work is run a new analysis. If some of us want to characterize CRU’s analysis as preliminary work, fine, no harm or foul there. This matter has ballooned from something that was more a matter of academic curiosity into what appears to be a potentially significant threat on an unprecedented scale so it’s not at all surprising that people care more now than they did in 1980. If CRU could have seen the future when they began this process we can be sure they’d have taken a different approach to archiving. Happily, what happened in the past is not a barrier to improvement today.

    Rather than obsess on what CRU was doing 30 years ago, it makes complete sense to spend a rather small amount of cash on a do-over starting at the basement, namely station temperature records. No equipment need be commissioned, no experimental infrastructure need be built, all that requires to be done is collation of records followed by processing.

    Fortunately this is apparently in the works and this time we can be quite sure the data collected as part of the process will be scrupulously preserved because we’re all now clear on the context of the research.

    Meanwhile, as that work is being done we’re confronted with a plethora of other information indicating the basic message of CRU’s analysis is not trended in the wrong direction. Some small number of persons should maintain a healthy obsession with CRU’s work (CRU staff, for instance) while the rest of us ought to look to our own oars or whatever part of the lifeboat we’re responsible for.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Feb 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  278. Ray, so the reason wind installs dropped 80-some percent since 2007 is they could not raise capital?

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Feb 2010 @ 5:06 PM

  279. Doug Bostrom wrote:

    “Dan, everybody seems to agree the most raw of station data and thus arguably the best data still exists. A lot of reasonable people could also agree the best way to attack possible problems with CRU’s work is run a new analysis.”

    I’d certainly go for a re-do for on recompiling raw data into a data base (which is what I think you mean by re-analysis). The problem I have with the present analyzed base is that it’s foundation is less certain than what I thought it was 6 months ago. I had assumed that what I call due diligence was done. But, the suggestion you propose (if I understand it correctly), is a total reboot; with the raw data base put back together and, hopefully, available to numerous researchers so different papers can be writting arguing for slightly different sets of corrections. I’d go for tracability, as much transparancy as possible, etc.

    Now, those folks who know _a priori_ that there is no global warming will not be convinced. But, there are a number of folks who still think global warming is highly probable, but are disturbed about undertainties in the data. Attack those uncertainties, and we all win. IMHO, that’s good science.

    So, it’s probably true that I was caught up arguing about what should have been done, but it was all done with a “therefore we should do X” clause in my head with “X” being very close to what I think you are saying. So, I hope you are not too insulted by this, but I think we generally agree on what to do now. :-)

    Comment by Dan M. — 28 Feb 2010 @ 6:21 PM

  280. RobM (274)

    Thanks, no I didn’t know that.

    Can we get some of the MSM to pick up on some such facts? My impression is they only print junk like my post…

    Comment by John Peter — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:09 PM

  281. Dan M. says, “The problem I have with the present analyzed base is that it’s foundation is less certain than what I thought it was 6 months ago.”

    Bullpuckey! There is simply no reason to posit any serious errors–if for no other reason that the other 3 temperature data series show pretty much the same trends. If you don’t like that, then look at the data for melting ice and the phenological data. Come on! If you are really a scientist, you know how to check validity of data!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:33 PM

  282. Andreas – “The point is that I want to say something on how disciplinary bias has implications on how we understand, evaulate and respond to climate change.”

    Now if you made that “The point is that I want to say something on how political and cultural bias has implications on how we understand, evaulate and respond to climate change science“, not only might quite a few here agree, but you’d have a much better basis for actual useful sociological research.

    Comment by flxible — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:34 PM

  283. Ron@275 – There’s some excellent photographic work ongoing here as well, check the video at the top for some info

    Comment by flxible — 28 Feb 2010 @ 7:36 PM

  284. Gavin
    “3 volumes and 4000 pages did not go ‘poof’. Those are what ‘the IPCC says’ – not Pachauri, ….”

    Recall the original post where you claimed “can you show me an instance of where the IPCC advocates a specific policy?” or something to that effect.

    How was anybody supposed to know that the answer to that trick question was “that’s because there is nothing called the IPCC”? Here they were, commenters coming up with example(s) of Pachauri’s ‘specific advocacy’ and you were hitting sixers out of the park with your “he is no IPCC” and “AR4=IPCC”.

    Implicit therefore in your definitional jugglery is the tacit admission that if there was indeed something/someone called the IPCC in corporeal existence, as opposed to the ethereal 3000-page tome floating around in transcendental vapors and if that someone/something practiced advocacy of any kind, it would be a wrong thing to do?

    Because in the outside world, that is what is being done by the IPCC, in the very name of the policy-neutral AR4, which you equate to the IPCC.

    You can only save the IPCC by defining it out of its existence. It does go poof. :)

    Regards

    [Response: Not at all. I'm making the point that the 'IPCC' is not the technical support unit or it's management but the sum total of all the work put in by the authors, contributors and reviewers that made the reports. No single person's opinion defines the 'IPCC' precisely because the assessment process is not a reflection of any single persons opinion. What the IPCC says is what is written in the reports. No more, no less. Criticism of the reports is a valid criticism of the IPCC - criticism of some random quote by Pachauri is not. - gavin]

    Comment by Anand — 28 Feb 2010 @ 9:57 PM

  285. Dan M. says: 28 February 2010 at 6:21 PM

    Isn’t it nice when reasonable people can find agreement?

    More on reexamination of data here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/25/climate-change-data-science

    and an already-completed project here:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2009/pr20091218b.html

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 28 Feb 2010 @ 10:50 PM

  286. “278
    Rod B says:
    28 February 2010 at 5:06 PM

    Ray, so the reason wind installs dropped 80-some percent since 2007 is they could not raise capital?”

    Well, this happens in a recession. You keep what you have (what has happened to sales of coal fired power stations in this year so far?) and don’t buy new, just make it last longer.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:03 AM

  287. “the ethereal 3000-page tome floating around in transcendental vapors”

    3000 pages is about as real as it can get. Drop it from a height, and it could do considerable damage.

    Maybe, Anand, you should actually buy the report.
    http://www.cambridge.org/features/earth_environmental/climatechange/wg1.htm
    http://www.cambridge.org/features/earth_environmental/climatechange/wg2.htm
    http://www.cambridge.org/features/earth_environmental/climatechange/wg3.htm

    When you hold all ~3000 pages in your hands, maybe it will feel less “ethereal”. And maybe you will finally read it, having shelled out all that money.

    Comment by Didactylos — 1 Mar 2010 @ 4:26 AM

  288. 282 flxible,
    To study the public perceptions of science is also possible, of course. But I started with an interest in expertise and the debate on interdisciplinarity. I believe that this is important of cource, and hopefully useful. At least the reviewers thought that my paper was an meta-study that makes a strong case for the possibility to alter climate research at large to that it becomes more useful …

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 1 Mar 2010 @ 5:29 AM

  289. 208 Hank Roberts 227 Ray Ladbury

    I know that the actual nature of science and scientists is not emotionless etc. but I do assert that the culture of the natural science tend to believe so, it is a matter of degree. For example, when a collegue of mine studied nano-scientists in a laboratory and ask them about gender roles and similar themes, they tend to answer that there is no gender roles in the laboratory because they wear space-suits. The answered similar to many other issues, i.e. that they live in an objective world without human subjects. They argue that it is their machines and methods and special ways of thinking that gives them these super-powers. That is one example of how natural scientists tend to believe that they are almost completely beynd the social world, they belong to the world of objectivity. I also read a study of NASA that reached the same conclusion. The NASA scientists could not comprehend subjective risk and therefore underestimated the degree of risk. They were only about numbers.

    Ladbury, yes, there is reasons to why scientists have these FALSE believes of “science in action”. They are norms that have an instrumental value for promoting research of high quality. But these believs are a rather poor empirical description of how research is carried out.

    210 CM,
    For WG1, it is hard to say exactly where and exactly how values matters, but I am sure that a competens researcher can demonstrate that (unfortunately, we don’t have the results before someone carry out that research project). I already suggested one way to mitigate this: To incorporate a context to WG1, that describe the history of climate research, from natural science views (e.g. assumptions and limitations of the approaches) and social science views (e.g. societal contexts). That way, a layperson will be less persuaded to read the WG1 results in a too simplistic manner.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 1 Mar 2010 @ 8:22 AM

  290. It’s already useful.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 Mar 2010 @ 8:31 AM

  291. 224 Anne van der Bom,
    “Sceptics: You have allowed your work to be tainted by your values, you are bad. The climate scientist respond: No, I have followed strict methods to prevent that from happening. Don’t you dare to smear me. It is you that refuses to accept my results because of your values.”

    I agree (this is more accurate than my illustration).

    However, I argue that both parts are too factual and invest too much trust in objective science (the climate researcher is right about the strict methods, still false regarding that values have no role for the things that matters in the end. The sceptics behaviour is simply obstruction). A more effective sceptic should not attack facts in a simple manner, but questions and debate the broader context and aim to refraim the whole thing, e.g. that these facts and also the values of researchers are parts of an environmental discourse and a policy process where the values of scientists are important foremost because for their implications. Would not it be more effective for sceptics to question the fact that it is a political process that pick scientists to the IPCC and not a process carried out by a scientific committee? Why this single-minded focus on just one kind of facts?

    “I am of the opinion that the latter part will become severely compromised as soon as you start formalising the ‘openness about values’ that you propose.”

    Yes, that is a risk, yet I want to give priority to intellectual honesty over negative concequences. For example, Mike Hulme (in Why we disagree about climate change) and Stephen Schneider (in Science as a Contact Sport) are open about their values and they both clearly have values that matters. Bert Bolin (first IPCC chief) is less open about his values (in A History of the Science and Politics of Climate Change) although he was very influential and also had values that matters. I confronted him once with this and he answered that he could not see that he had any politicl roles or that his values was of any importance to the issue of climate change. But in the lecture he just had given, it was very clear to be that Bolin was sympatetic to moderate green politics (i.e. Ecological modernization) and that he values equality and was concerned over inequalities between the first and the third world. This mattered to him and was important to why be reached the conclusion that climate change is a problem and why he already in the early 1970´s started to advocate policy but he did this primarily with his status as objective knowledge producer that knows the truth. Sorry, but this is either not fully honest or demonstrate lack of self-understanding or more likely a combination of both that is in part a results from Bolins academic training and in part a concequence of political strategy to advocate policy.

    The practical implementation: The demand is ethical and voluntary, not quasi-juridical. When values matters, a researcher should be clear on this, and he should be critiqued by other researchers when he is not. It is part of the usual scientific process, i.e. the same way as researchers handle disputes over facts, although that values are different in nature (not true or false). The social sciences usually behave in this way, but they are also more impregnated with values that matters.

    For the IPCC about us. I question this formulation “clear scientific view” and also “objective”. They overstate their objective nature throughtout all web-pages and texts and they rarely, if ever, say anything about having values, or a valueladen function, that matters.

    I think that this description of the IPCC is more accurate:
    Global climate change is very complex and hard to perceive without the aid of science. Policymaking is therefore dependent on science for informed responses. This twofold need to assess the complex scientific knowledge on climate change and to facilitate communication between science and policymaking has been formally assigned to the IPCC by the United Nations. Through this assignment, the IPCC has had an instrumental role in establishing the scientific consensus that human activities have altered the climate, and that the effects are serious and far-reaching.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 1 Mar 2010 @ 9:05 AM

  292. 278 Rod B: wrote “wind installs dropped 80-some percent since 2007″

    Huh? The US installed 10GW in 2009 increasing capacity from 25 to 35 GW.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 1 Mar 2010 @ 9:53 AM

  293. It’s already useful (BPL) … so let us NOT try to make it MORE useful, good idea ;-)

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 1 Mar 2010 @ 9:56 AM

  294. Andreas Bjurström,
    The atmosphere couldn’t care less about our values. The climate science that tells us what the results of increased greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be is either fundamentally sound, or it isn’t. What part of that don’t you understand? Values become relevant when we consider what to do with the results of that science, or when we try to take into account impacts that can be modified by, and feedbacks that operate via, human decision-making.

    A more effective sceptic should not attack facts in a simple manner, but questions and debate the broader context and aim to refraim the whole thing, e.g. that these facts and also the values of researchers are parts of an environmental discourse and a policy process where the values of scientists are important foremost because for their implications. Would not it be more effective for sceptics to question the fact that it is a political process that pick scientists to the IPCC and not a process carried out by a scientific committee?

    Excuse me? Where have you been for the past 10 years? Not having even the basis of a case in the science, denialists have done little other than accuse both the IPCC and climate scientists of various forms of corruption and ulterior motive. The last thing we need is a descent in the sort of postmodernist STS tripe you appear to be advocating.

    This mattered to him and was important to why be reached the conclusion that climate change is a problem and why he already in the early 1970´s started to advocate policy but he did this primarily with his status as objective knowledge producer that knows the truth.

    Do you have any actual quote indicating that Bollin thinks he is an “objective knowledge producer that knows the truth”? BTW, what is the epistemic status of the oh-so-confident claims you are making about science, scientists, and “environmental discourse”?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 1 Mar 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  295. 294Nick Gotts,
    The atmosphere does not care about anything … but climate scientists do care about many things! What part of my argument do you not understand?

    Why do climate scientists care whether climate change is human induced or natural? It does not really matters because the concequences will be the same and we can adopt to and to some extent also mitigate natural induced climate change. What is natural by the way? Are humans not natural and why so? I think this duality is due to western culture. What do you think? Think about that ;-)

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  296. Andreas, you are becoming vague again. Remember that you ARE talking to scientists. If you want us to agree with ANYTHING you say, you will have to be precise.

    So, let’s start with the values of scientific research, and you tell me which of these don’t work for you:

    1)There is an objective reality that ensures repeated identical trials will be distributed according to the same distribution. Agree or no?

    2)Those with the greatest experience investigating a phenomenon (e.g. as measured by most publications) are most likely to best understand it. Agree or no?

    3)Those whose ideas have been most useful to others (e.g. as demonstrated by citations of their work) are most likely to best understand the subject matter. Agree or no?

    4)Those who have repeatedly demonstrated willingness to put aside personal agendas to further research are most likely to have a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Agree or no?

    5)The consensus of the experts (as defined by the three criteria above) is likely to understand more reliably the subject matter than is the opinion of a single randomly selected expert. Agree or no?

    What other values am I missing? Please be specific.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Mar 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  297. flxible #283, I wonder if anyone has actually put all of this photographic evidence in a book. Not just a few token pics but all of them. Then add in the other concrete evidences. It would make a powerful argument for warming. Many people will never be swayed by graphs alone since they can be faked.

    Thawing Tundra
    http://tinyurl.com/yapno4j

    Another representation of Arctic thaw
    http://tinyurl.com/ybjz3h5

    Permafrost loss graph
    http://tinyurl.com/4dqg8y

    Birds and Climate Change: On the Move
    http://tinyurl.com/at48v2

    Coral Bleaching Observations
    http://tinyurl.com/ybfulo4

    Migratory Species and Climate Change
    http://tinyurl.com/ycsfby6 (PDF)

    Boreal Forests Shift North
    http://tinyurl.com/yd496oh

    Change in Number of Category 4 and 5 Hurricanes by Ocean Basin for the 15-Year Periods 1975-1989 and 1990-2004
    http://tinyurl.com/ybcpnfj

    Comment by Ron R. — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:33 PM

  298. John (292), I was asking about BPL’s (if memory serves…) numbers.

    Comment by Rod B — 1 Mar 2010 @ 1:48 PM

  299. Andre says, “It does not really matters because the concequences will be the same and we can adopt to and to some extent also mitigate natural induced climate change. What is natural by the way? Are humans not natural and why so? I think this duality is due to western culture. What do you think? Think about that ;-)”

    Andre, you are utterly missing the point! First, there are some risks due to climate change that cannot be bounded at present. We literally cannot say whether they will bring about the end of human civilization! You cannot simply assume that we will come up with a solution.

    Anthropogenic causation is different precisely because we can control it. We can control both whether it happens and how quickly. And if we understand the mechanism and how it will unfold, we can better mitigate its consequences (at least those that can be mitigated. This isn’t an abstract matter of philosophy, but rather whether we CHOOSE to inflict this wound (possibly mortal) on ourselves.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:27 PM

  300. > photographic evidence
    Well, there’s

    Climate Change: Picturing the Science
    by Gavin Schmidt, Joshua Wolfe, Jeffrey D. Sachs

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Climate-Change/Gavin-Schmidt/e/9780393331257

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:38 PM

  301. Rod B, did you understand BPL’s numbers?

    I.e. if that was ***GROWTH*** then you’ve interpreted as per your belief that there’s no problem with AGW.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Mar 2010 @ 2:47 PM

  302. 299 Ray Ladbury,
    It is the obsession with “human induced” I want to contest. More accurate is to ascribe this obsession to the public (sceptics, politicians, activists). But I want to maintain that also climate scientists to a lesser degree see climate change through the same cultural lens. For example, I think we would not have the same division of WG1-WG3 if we started out with an ecocentric world-view.

    Irrespective of this, yes, I know that, and agree on the limits of the practicabilities. Still (excuse the silly hypothetical example) if we find out that climate change can be attributed to volcanos, there is an possibility that we can do something with the volcanos to stop the emission (I guess not, but please, that is not the point here) or we can mitigate human CO2 emissions with the same amount that we predict will come from the volcanos, to have a zero net effect. Or we can choose a do nothing strategy (maybe we think it is to expensive to do a technical fix to the volcanos or too expensive to mititate human induced CO2).

    Moreover, can be really control human societies, globally? So far, no progress at all. We tend to take it for granted that everything that is human can be controlled. For example: many sociologists are against the believes that humans have a biological nature that effect on behaviour (yes, I know it is absurd to contest this, and I hated the sociologists for that, I had invested years of training in evolutionary theory, sociobiology, theoretical ecology and the like before I studies socíology for a semester). They tend to think that biology is something fixed. But as biologists know, biology is not fixed at all and interact with reality (including social reality) all the time and change due to that. now we also have genetic modification. Perhaps biology is less fixed than social structures in the future? And in the 1950´s and 1960´s (the heyday for technocracy) many climate scientists aimed for technical control of climate (to have a favourable and stable climate over time, i.e. both mititage and reinforce climate change, when neeeded to counteract natural variation).

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:47 PM

  303. Ron R@297 – The extreme ice survey has science partners, including Ohio U’s Byrd Polar Research Center and the U Colo Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, I’d expect to see some coverage from them or Natl Geographic or NASA – some has been used by PBS here

    Comment by flxible — 1 Mar 2010 @ 3:48 PM

  304. Hank Roberts #300. I thought of that but I’ve not actually seen the book so I don’t know what it contains as far as Glacial repeat photos etc. I looked on Amazon and it didn’t say. I look in my local library.

    By the way, here’s another recent evidence of warming:

    Grizzlies moving into polar bear region

    “The researchers first spotted a grizzly in 2008. They were flying over the area and graduate student Linda Gormezano, a co-author of the current paper, shouted that she saw one. Rockwell and Gormezano then looked through records for reports of other sightings. There were none before 1996. But between then and 2008, there were nine confirmed sightings, and three more in the summer of 2009.”

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/greenliving/85828202.html

    Comment by Ron R. — 1 Mar 2010 @ 4:16 PM

  305. 296 Ray Ladbury,
    (this debate should also come to an end soon, since it is “derailing a scientific discussion” on the physical sciences, but here is a reply anyway to ladburys recent post).

    1: I agree that “there is an objective reality” (which roughly consists of a physical world, a life-words and an ideational level of the latter that differ between species, social groups and individuals). But I hesitate when you continue that fast to the statistics, since much knowledge (including climate models) is not large N studies that correspond to objective reality in a statistical way. For example, climate model (like mathematics) is foremost self-referring. However, I guess that parts of the WG1 results (at the data level, but not when placing the data in a broader explanatory framework) “ensures repeated identical trials will be distributed according to the same distribution.“

    2)Those with the greatest experience investigating a phenomenon are most likely to best understand
    that very limited peace of objective reality. However, what interest us the most are the bigger picture: No single speciality can really answer that we have AGW. To say that, they must trust their collegues from other specialities (their data, methods, theories, results). The prominent researchers that run this blog are 80% of the time outside of their speciality, if we are to be very strict with this. None of them can, from their speciality, for example say that there is not an inherent political bias in the IPCC process. They can make qualified guesses based on their subjective experience, but they have not expertise to assert that with the scientific method(s). And if we talk about ensure repeated identical trials will be distributed according to the same distribution, well, I think not….

    3) I agree on that, besides that usefulness is kind of sufficient in itself, if something is very useful it does not really matter whether it is true or not (the pragmatic theory that truth equals “it works”).

    4) I do not agree with that as a general rule. Often it is the opposite: those who combine personal agendas, passion to the mystery of reality, societal concerns of usefulness, naïve visions, and many other motivational things, are most likely to have a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

    5) Yes, a collective is more reliable than a single random expert. But we also miss much of what is interesting (in Swedish, interest and truth are semantically related. sant (true), intre-sant (interesting). Concensus filters out many likely truth in favour of the average. I do not like the IPCC concensus science. To report a larger range of disagreement would be better, also report single randomly selected expert that contest concensus in interesting ways. I think Stephen Schneider suggested this, to have a WG4 that deal with controversy (Schneider think IPCC is way too conservative).

    “What other values am I missing?“
    Hmm, not sure if I can clarify that (I think I have tried many times already, it is coming to a closure, but I do think you miss things I consider important, because you focus on truth, whereas my focus on why values in science matter is broader and more interested in framing, implications, social processes).

    1038 Ray Ladbury (I continue here, as I wish to not prolong Whatevergate, but let us not “derail” too long). We must distinguish between scientific norms and empirical descriptions (of different aspects) of science. For example, the Mertonian norms are norms that Merton believed will promote good science. Such prescriptive theory of science is not very popular at the present. In vogue are (cynical) empirical descriptions that are neutral to, and not very interested in, possible improvements. You are interested in norms that you think will promote good science (and the self-understanding of working scientists. And you argue as a conservative: history is the proof that it works, let us continue).

    The aim of research traditions differ. Most social studies of science are not very interested in altering methodology (often not at all). That is your concern and part of the reason to why you object. In other words, different research traditions are interested in different aspects of reality. For example, a study of gender roles in a science laboratory can be of interest, if gender roles effects the interpretation of research results in one way or another, but also if gender roles effects on career advancement or communication with media and many other things. These things (norms/empirical and aim) cause confusion in the discussion.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 1 Mar 2010 @ 4:26 PM

  306. Interesting that the polar bear is not only demonstrating the falsity of the claim that the earth hasn’t been warming but also another rightwing lie that evolution does not occur since the polar bear is quite clearly related to brown bears – yet they diverged, adapting to a changing environment.

    “When the researchers compared the fossil’s DNA with analogous DNA from six other specimens of living brown bears and polar bears, they detected genetic hallmarks of both species. That suggests that the fossil bear was one of the first polar bears to branch off from brown bears. “It’s a truly ancient polar bear,” says lead author and geneticist Charlotte Lindqvist of the University at Buffalo in New York state. It must have lived close to the time when the species had split off from the so-called ABC brown bears, which inhabit three islands—Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof—in southeastern Alaska. Those bears are more closely related to polar bears than they are to other brown bears, she says.”
    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/03/early-polar-bear-discovered-in-a.html

    http://www.kent-hovind.com/250K/ron.htm

    Comment by Ron R. — 1 Mar 2010 @ 4:37 PM

  307. #302 Andreas Bjurström

    Can you explain how the current forcing level was achieved with natural means?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/forcing-levels

    Have Volcanos really been erupting more than usual?

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/volcanoes-emit-more-co2-than-mankind

    As to your question, can we really control human societies? History is replete with various controls imposed upon society. Government itself is a control upon society.

    Maybe a more reasonable question would be can we remove all the controls and survive? Or more relevantly, can we alter our focus and use our existing control infrastructure to address our current and future needs. The answer lies in the history of our general ability to impose controls, and the answer is absolutely, yes.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 Mar 2010 @ 6:33 PM

  308. Hypothetical examples about physics, I knew what would not be accepted :-)

    Thanks for allowing me to discuss here and good luck to you all, or maybe not, luck is perhaps only for the religious kind of mind, hehe

    Live long and prosper comrades ….

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 1 Mar 2010 @ 7:28 PM

  309. Andreas, I think that you are missing the point about why science is conservative with respect to methodology. It is because the goal is to develop reliable understanding. Indeed, that is also the point of scientific consensus. If there is disagreement around the consensus, then eventually, the points of view that have the most merit will succeed the old consensus.

    The thing is that when you are doing sociology of science, when you state your conclusions to scientists and they don’t recognize their experience of what they do in them, then you are wrong. This is just like an anthropologist who draws conclusions about a tribe that the tribe then find risible.

    Any group has norms, it is true. What should be your goal is finding the reasons behind the norms. That’s the only way to really provide insight (or change) in the subject.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Mar 2010 @ 9:20 PM

  310. Darn, just when I thought Andreas was beginning to make sense over on the Whatevergate thread, I wade into his stream of consciousness on this thread, including claims like:

    #305: “climate model (like mathematics) is foremost self-referring” – Nope, climate models are representations of physical processes.

    Ray (#309),
    just a coda: true, the social scientist needs to be able to describe the group he studies in a way they subjectively recognize, to verify his grasp of the data. (Andreas isn’t there yet, I think.) But the social scientist also needs to apply social theory to the data, whatever the group studied may think of the conclusions this leads to. After all, there would be little point in social research if it only reproduced society’s established understanding of itself.

    Comment by CM — 2 Mar 2010 @ 5:01 AM

  311. Moreover, can be really control human societies, globally? So far, no progress at all. – Andreas Bjurström

    How right you are, Andreas: the Montreal Protocol, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the WTO agreements on trade, the Antarctic Treaty, the conventions on the Law of the Sea. None of them happened, did they?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:09 AM

  312. Why do climate scientists care whether climate change is human induced or natural? It does not really matters because the concequences will be the same and we can adopt to and to some extent also mitigate natural induced climate change. What is natural by the way? Are humans not natural and why so? I think this duality is due to western culture. What do you think? Think about that ;-) – Andreas Bjurström

    Faced with this sort of bilge, does one laugh or weep? Climate scientists want to discover the cause of climate change (a) Because they are climate scientists, and their vocation is to improve understanding of climate; (b) Because if we know the cause, we are in a better position to forecast, mitigate and prepare for it. It is you, not me, who has introduced the dichotomy of “human induced” and “natural” – as an attempt to distract from the breathtaking inanity of everything you’ve been saying, I presume. Think about that ;-)

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:23 AM

  313. Nick Gotts, take your dogmas and sweeping accusations somewhere else, to mere demonstrate an attitude of dislike is not very intresting and intentional distortion is not very constructive.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 2 Mar 2010 @ 6:48 AM

  314. 310 CM,
    Let us have a discussion about climate modelling (that topic fits at this site). First, I did not intend to say that climate models are detached from “reality out there” (yes, I did overstate my point). I wanted to say that the fit is loose. We depend on quite a few institutions (since modelling is very expensive) and the models are adjusted in different ways so that the output will be what one wants. That is a self-refering (or internal) or whatever process. These self-referring looops are also interacting with reality out there as they are few with data etc.

    Please, it is not very interesting and constructive to mere behave badly (e.g. as Nick Gotts) and I do wish that a modeller can put my crappy text on models here and write it more correctly and elegant. I simply want to initiate a little debate on modelling and I do know that it is naïve to mere state that models correspond to reality. So that is room for discussion on this and it is important and relevant since climate change science depends hugely on the modelling business …

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:06 AM

  315. “I wanted to say that the fit is loose.”

    What does that mean?

    “and the models are adjusted in different ways so that the output will be what one wants.”

    I take it you’re the one who does this, then? If so, please tell us what models you’ve adjusted and how you know what to adjust it to get what you want (which also requires you tell us what you want).

    That statement is a typical denialist mantra and is slanderous: it is accusing scientists of “wanting” a result and modifying their work until they get it. This is professional misconduct if it happens and can have you thrown out of the various academies.

    So do you have any data to back that up?

    Or is it just what you (would) do if you had to do climate studies?

    Do you do that when you do your work for polsci?

    “I simply want to initiate a little debate on modelling”

    No you don’t. You want to accuse scientists of professional fraud.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:41 AM

  316. Andreas Bjurström,
    The moderators decide what can be posted here, not you. I have not distorted anything you have said, nor have you even tried to show that I have.

    the models are adjusted in different ways so that the output will be what one wants.

    Once again you demonstrate your abysmal ignorance while insulting real scientists. There is plenty on this site about how climate models are constructed and used. Why not try reading it?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:57 AM

  317. What is natural by the way? Are humans not natural and why so?

    Because we use this as a convenient language definition to differentiate “what humans do” to “what the world excluding humans do”.

    This baloney crops up with every environmental or conservation issue. You can always spot the anti-whichever type because eventually they’ll say, “what do you mean a natural forest? Aren’t humans part of nature, so when it’s cut down and turned into a parking lot with three tiny trees left as decoration on the edge, isn’t that a natural forest”?

    It’s ridiculous. Read a dictionary.

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Mar 2010 @ 7:57 AM

  318. AB, how many times are you going to say goodbye or that you’re leaving and then come back and make more comments? If you intend to keep posting here, please stop saying you’re leaving, or goodbye, or “This will be my last post here,” etc. It’s misleading.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 Mar 2010 @ 8:19 AM

  319. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527490.100-theres-no-war-to-fight-over-global-warming.html

    Sums up sciences position quite well I think. Real climate really is potentially sticking it neck out for science cannot resolve the worlds issues. Thats a politicians job.

    Comment by pete best — 2 Mar 2010 @ 9:33 AM

  320. CFU (301), Oh, well! I simply questioned BPLs assertion that the ~80% decrease in Texas wind farm installations since 2008 was due to the recession (#254). AGW has zero relevance.

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Mar 2010 @ 11:27 AM

  321. Andreas, you’re just digging yourself deeper into a hole here.
    Why not quit for a while, read some of the climate science, then
    try to get someone to create the website for the discussion you want?
    You’ve got a publication coming, you could be the one to host the conversation.

    Coming into RC, proclaiming your understanding of your field, while making it really obvious you don’t know how the science works — and getting into arguments with ordinary readers here while the climate scientists mostly ignore you — isn’t furthering your idea at all.

    Does this help?
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527490.100-theres-no-war-to-fight-over-global-warming.html
    ______
    “One way to think of climate science is as an attempt to test the hypothesis that the warming we have observed over the past 50 years and more is caused mainly by greenhouse gases dumped into the atmosphere by humans. This hypothesis was formulated because is has been known since the 19th century that certain gases in the atmosphere warm the climate, and that humans have been adding more of these gases into the atmosphere.

    Climate scientists have been trying to find evidence that would disprove this hypothesis for the past 40 years or more. So far they have failed.

    We still do not discount the possibility that the hypothesis is wrong….”
    ______

    Fundamental, basic, so well understood by scientists that nonscientists often have no clue this is how it works.

    Boil that down even further. Understand this:

    ______
    “… certain gases in the atmosphere warm the climate, and … humans have been adding more of these gases into the atmosphere.

    Climate scientists have been trying to find evidence that would disprove this hypothesis for the past 40 years or more. So far they have failed.”
    ______

    Did you read that, Andreas?
    Do you see how different your notion of science is?
    And your notion is wrong because it ignores these two basic hypotheses:

    – some gases in the atmosphere warm the client
    – human activity is increasing some of those

    Science tries to _disprove_ those.
    It’s failed so far to disprove them.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 11:32 AM

  322. #314 Andreas Bjurström

    Andreas. You could save yourself and everyone a lot of time if you simple search around inside http://www.realclimate.org for these discussions. They have been done and redone over, and over, and over, and over. The likelihood of you adding anything new to the conversation is infinitesimally small.

    Just scroll down to the climate modeling section:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/index/

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/models-can-be-wrong

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/models


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:06 PM

  323. OK, Andreas, first let’s make sure we are talking about the same type of modeling. You know that models can either be statistical or dynamical, right? And you know the difference between them?

    In a statistical model, the parameters are selected so that the model best reproduces the data. If the data are “representative” for future behavior and the model fits the data and doesn’t overfit it, then there’s a good chance the model has some predictive power, and you don’t need to know much about the physical mechanisms. There are techniques designed to avoid overfitting.

    A dynamical model is something else entirely. In this, you put in the physics as best you understand it. Once you do this, there is very little you can “tweak” to get a better fit. You can add in additional physics to see if it is important. However, the chances of getting a spurious agreement when you have the wrong physics is pretty remote. No one is saying that the models have 100% correspondence to reality. That’s not how you use them. Rather, you use them to find out what physics is important for the phenomena being modeled. The way these dynamical models can go wrong is if you have different physics that is important for the calibration period, verification period and the future.

    The most important thing, here, Andreas is that you have to understand how the models are being used.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  324. #306 Ron R

    I was wondering when some one was going to bring up this red herring about grizzly bears.

    The reason grizzly bears are moving north is because they can without us killing them – humans have set up a wildlife refuge. They used to be in the same area years ago but were exterminated. They are going back to where they used to be because there is a good food supply.

    Comment by Jim Cross — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  325. #314, I honestly didn’t understand any of that. If you want to try again, please, please first read the RealClimate FAQ on climate models (part 1, part 2; there’s even a
    Swedish version).

    Comment by CM — 2 Mar 2010 @ 12:35 PM

  326. the models are adjusted in different ways so that the output will be what one wants. – Andreas Bjurström

    If you want to know how climate models are actually constructed and used, Andreas, there’s several posts on the issue on this site.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 2 Mar 2010 @ 5:05 PM

  327. 316 Nick Gotts,
    Climate scientists are too easily insulted (and so am I, as you know) and sometimes for the wrong reasons. It is an democratic right to scrutinize climate scientists (from perspectives that are much broader than their expertise) since they have a powerful societal role for climate change. Moreover, I do not like double standards. You argue that it is ok to insult members of other scientific fields, but not the ones you like. I wish for higher moral standards (I do not claim to live up to this ideal, but I do want the climate community, including amateur blogs, to aim for this, together) and more tolerance for different perspectives. The climate debate today is rather intolerant and the moral is low, on all sides.

    317 dhogaza says:
    I do not like convenient language. I believe that convenient language have causes and concequences that are un-convenient. Deep ecology agree on this (I´m not an deep ecologist), so at least some would not agree that questioning convenient viewpoints on nature results in environmental destruction. Actually, they argue the other way around.

    318 Barton Paul Levenson,
    Sorry, it was my honest intention (to quit), but I was mocked as a thinking human being right after I declared that, and my bad character made me go another round.

    319 pete best,
    Yes, it sums up the belief system of the disciplines that dominate climate research. I disagree with that perspective, of cource, but not because they are wrong in their core areas of expertise, but because their expertise is limited and many things they say are outside their expertise (and wrong as well, e.g. the naïve delimitation of science and politics in the article you refer to).

    321 Hank Roberts,
    Thanks for the sympathy and the good advice.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 3 Mar 2010 @ 11:25 AM

  328. #dhogaza re #295 Andreas Bjurström

    En addendum to dhogaza and others that have commented on this silly notion by Andreas…

    Applying this argument and following the logic as presented, one can then say the atom and hydrogen bomb are natural disasters because they are created by man and man is natural. Anyone who died from nuclear weapons has merely died of natural causes.

    One could also say that if one commits murder, it is not murder because mankind is natural, so man killing man is therefore a natural event, so no one could ever be guilty of murder…, killing is just death by natural cause.

    This kind of amoral bilge water oft rises from the ilk of fools and brigands that foist manipulation above reason. To follow this line of logic is to be against reason. Par for the course it seems in the argument of Andreas.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Mar 2010 @ 11:34 AM

  329. Models et al,

    Completely Fed Up,
    Modellers want results to fit reality (however, some modellers wants them to fit politics, hehe, just teasing you), that is why they “adjust” their models. There is an interesting interaction between modellers and empirical scientists, and between models and data (I have read papers that argue that these different scientific communities needs to be better integrated and that steps in that direction has been taken). I think you can now figur out what my generic term “loose fit” means.

    John P. Reisman,
    You are right, I am wrong …

    Ray Ladbury,
    Yes, I already knew the difference (at that basic level you describe). My point was more or less what you say, models don’t have 100% correspondence to reality (and that is not how they are used). Another things, there is many sub-models that are being connected, not all models are based on physics (e.g. biological models of ecosystems) and many feed-back mechanisms is not that well understood yet. I guess that the first societal model to be included will be a dynamic economic model (based on “economic laws”).

    I think also this have some bearing on my critique that there is overemphasis on the physics, so many other sub-systems are much less certain, we have to live with that more or less, uncertainty, and still handle the issue (post normal times, hallelujah). To get uncertainty on the physics down to 0 % will not help us that much, but I do think that most physical scientists that are concerned over policy tend to think so (and maybe that is good, motivational factors, also wrong ones, are useful).

    Another thing: The social perspections of climate models. Red color = danger. You run a model and after some time large parts of the earth turns red = catastrophy!!! That is efficient communications to advocacy climate policy.

    325 CM,
    Thanks for the link, I have no critique of the content. This paragraph starts where I also started:
    “How do I write a paper that proves that models are wrong? Much more simply than you might think since, of course, all models are indeed wrong (though some are useful). Showing a mismatch between the real world and …. “

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 3 Mar 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  330. As a testament to Senator Inhofe’s apparent inability to understand that which he does, or the issues at hand,, he has signed the petition defending Michael Mann and Phil Jones saying, and I quote:

    216. Senator James Inhofe My new intern has brought to my attention the fine work your organization is doing to expose the Global Warming Hoax. Keep up the good work.Tulsa, OK

    http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?clim4tr&1


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    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 Mar 2010 @ 1:31 PM

  331. Jim Cross #324 said “The reason grizzly bears are moving north is because they can without us killing them – humans have set up a wildlife refuge. They used to be in the same area years ago but were exterminated. They are going back to where they used to be because there is a good food supply”.

    No. The area under discussion is the Wapusk National Park, a location at the Northern edge of Manitoba, close to the Arctic Circle. “Grizzly bears are a new guy on the scene … There was no evidence of grizzly bears before 1996, not even in the trapping data from centuries of Hudson Bay Company operation. But between 1996 and 2008 the team found nine confirmed sightings of grizzly bears, and in the summer of 2009 there were three additional observations.” http://www.amnh.org/science/papers/rockwell_grizzley_2010.php

    As far as why grizzlies are moving into polar bear habitat, you are right that there is reduced hunting pressure on them in Manitoba – which has added them to a protected species list, the provincial “Wildlife Act”. However that is for the entire province and it is a very recent act (2009), yet the sightings in the area have been going on since 1996. So that would not explain their move to the far north. And don’t forget, the bears have been hunted ruthlessly for a long time in Canada so why the recent migration?

    As to a grizzly bear refuge, while I noted that conservationists are urging the creation of another, the only grizzly sanctuary in existence in all of Canada that I could see, called the “Khutzeymateen” is “Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary under the joint management of the province of British Columbia and the Tsimshian Nation”. That is a long, long way from Wapusk National Park.

    http://www.greatcanadianparks.com/bcolumbia/khutzey/index.htm
    http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/khutzeymateen/

    There is one other park (not an actual sanctuary) called the Great Bear Rainforest, but that’s also in British Columbia.

    As to other possible reasons, however, though I am not claiming that it is the only possible one, I do note that temperatures in Manitoba have been increasing. For example:

    “From 1909 to present, August water temperatures in the South and North Basins of Lake Winnipeg have increased by 1.9°C and 1.0°C, respectively (4). ” http://www.climatechangeconnection.org/Impacts/LakeWinnipeg.htm

    Comment by Ron R. — 3 Mar 2010 @ 4:14 PM

  332. 328 John P. Reisman,
    You commit the the naturalistic fallacy. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalistic_fallacy
    That something is natural doesn´t imply that it is morally right. I therefore object strongly to your logic.

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 3 Mar 2010 @ 4:40 PM

  333. > 295 Andreas Bjurström … “Why do climate scientists care whether climate change is human induced or natural? It does not really matters … What is natural by the way? Are humans not natural and why so?…”
    > 332 Andreas Bjurström …You commit the the naturalistic fallacy….
    That something is natural doesn´t imply that it is morally right. I therefore object strongly to your logic.

    I think you’ve either contradicted yourself or confused yourself.

    The point is that human causes are subject to human behavior, and we can control how much the climate changes by controlling how much fossil carbon we put into the atmosphere.

    Admittedly it’s a sloppy control system, but we know it works.

    When you say it can’t matter what’s causing the warming, you say the physics we understand isn’t important to the decisions we make.

    Right?

    Have you watched this yet?
    http://widgets.vodpod.com/w/video_embed/ExternalVideo.908734
    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.swf

    See anything there you’d disagree with?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:14 PM

  334. Strike that. In my comment #331 I stated, “So that would not explain their move to the far north”. On further research it would appear that I am wrong about this. The range of the grizzly bear actually extends even farther north than Wapusk National Park. My apologies.

    http://www.cmiae.org/_img/bearmap.gif

    However by all accounts the bears are indeed a new arrival to the Wapusk area. The possible reasons given by the authors include “a geographic shift related to habitat changes or food availability”.

    http://research.amnh.org/~rfr/rockwelletal09.pdf (PDF)

    Comment by Ron R. — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:24 PM

  335. Andreas (#329), scientists want their results to fit reality. That’s why they adjust their models. If you get beyond the first paragraph, the FAQ might help you adjust your mental model of climate models. It might even help you formulate whatever it is you want to discuss.

    Comment by CM — 3 Mar 2010 @ 5:29 PM

  336. For something that does not disappoint, see this superb item by Bill McKibben of the LA Times:

    http://www.standard.net/topics/opinion/2010/03/01/climate-change-skeptics-sound-simpson-lawyers

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:02 PM

  337. Andreas, The economic, social and political considerations are reflected in the scenarios, which in turn determine how much CO2 and other ghgs are injected into the system. You can certainly argue whether the scenarios are realistic or appropriate. That’s fine. However, their main purpose is illustrative: 1)Keep injecting CO2 with current rates of growth, and things get quite hot. 2)Slow the rate of growth and things warm significantly but less. And so on. These are qualitative predictions, and I don’t see how putting detailed economic models, etc. would significantly alter the conclusions.

    You seem not to understand the purpose of physical models. It is not prediction, but rather insight into the system and the physics that is important. 100% fidelity and 0% error are not requirements.

    Perhaps you can enlighten us on how (specifically) your ideas would alter the general conclusions we see reflected in WG1 reports.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Mar 2010 @ 7:35 PM

  338. 333Hank Roberts,
    neither contradiction nor confusion from my part in this.
    I think also that realclimate conduct the naturalistic fallacy (and hence verify what I am right that also climate scientists see this through cultural lenses that are problematic). See this post from realclimate, especially point b.

    We would like to apologize to our loyal readers who have provided us so much support since we first went online in December 2004. However, after listening to the compelling arguments of the distinguished speakers who participated in the Heartland Institute’s recent global warming contrarian conference, we have decided that the science is settled — in favor of the contrarians. Indeed, even IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri has now admitted that anthropogenic climate change was a massive hoax after all. Accordingly, RealClimate no longer has a reason for existence. The contrarians have made a convincing case that (a) global warming isn’t happening, (b) even if it is, its entirely natural and within the bounds of natural variability, (c) well, even if its not natural, it is modest in nature and not a threat, (d) even if anthropogenic warming should turn out to be pronounced as projected, it will sure be good for us, leading to abundant crops and a healthy environment, and (e) well, it might actually be really bad, but hey, its unstoppable anyway. (Can we get our check now?)

    [Response: You think that quoting an April Fool's joke that parrots the standard contrarian talking points proves that we have succumbed to the naturalistic fallacy? Really? - gavin]

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 4 Mar 2010 @ 5:16 AM

  339. “Completely Fed Up,
    Modellers want results to fit reality (however, some modellers wants them to fit politics, hehe, just teasing you), that is why they “adjust” their models”

    No, they change their models.

    No scare quotes.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Mar 2010 @ 5:47 AM

  340. “Oh, well! I simply questioned BPLs assertion that the ~80% decrease in Texas wind farm installations since 2008 was due to the recession (#254). AGW has zero relevance.

    Comment by Rod B ”

    No you didn’t and you’re not doing it this time either.

    If those figures are of increases in production, then there’s no 80% reduction in production. The increase in production has reduced by 80%, but since this isn’t a 100% reduction, wind turbine builds are still going up in Texas.

    But you either don’t know the difference or want to promote a false problem.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Mar 2010 @ 5:51 AM

  341. JPR (330: Not too swift, is he? Go, Oklahoma!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Mar 2010 @ 6:59 AM

  342. Phil,

    Signatures 32 and 34 are duplicates.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Mar 2010 @ 7:06 AM

  343. You argue that it is ok to insult members of other scientific fields, but not the ones you like. – Andreas Bjurström

    No, I don’t. STS is an ideologically-based pseudo-science.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 4 Mar 2010 @ 7:11 AM

  344. [edit]

    Whether the IPCC is just the reports or something more, is critically relevant to the Fred Pearce ‘quality of reportage’ question.

    If we review recent history, Pachauri was directly made aware of the error in the glacier claim by a news correspondent from Science magazine well before December 6. Other sources are able to demonstrate he knew about the error in mid-late November. As IPCC ‘manager’, he should have acted immediately.

    The excuse he gave himself for not doing was, in videotaped interviews was – he was busy with Copenhagen.

    why should the IPCC manager be concerned with policy determinations relating to climate change at Copenhagen, at the cost of correcting egregious errors in the science of climate change which the AR4/IPCC deems to reflect?

    Why should the IPCC manager have declared VK Raina’s report on the Himalayan glaciers as ‘voodoo science’ and schoolboy science, when clearly as a manager, he should have simply delegated such issues of science to scientists responsible for the content of AR4?

    It is such acts of negligent advocacy – perhaps committed to keep the media focus ‘on-message’, that led Fred Pearce to openly investigate and write about Climategate and Glaciergate in the New Scientist and subsequently the Guardian. That too, for someone who has always been supportive of climate change activism.

    But you have not let through my post on the IPCC and what it is. I claimed above that someone connected to the IPCC has made a cogent, cohesive series of statements and argued for specific measures to be undertaken by a certain polity, in the veiw of climate change, and not at all like “some random quote” which you presumed. I did not catch any questions or curiosity for what this instance might be at all.

    [edit]

    Regards

    Comment by Anand — 4 Mar 2010 @ 11:47 AM

  345. 343 Nick Gotts,

    Natural science is also motivated by ideology, e.g. read Francis Bacon. Society support the technical and the natural sciences for one reason: Improvement of the material quality of life. This was much needed in the context where the natural sciences was born (poverty). Now the opposite is true: the destruction of the environment is amplified strongly by the technical and natural science research.

    Today, the western world is affluent, we live in the so called knowledge society where elites becomes elites due to their expertise. STS is in part an reaction to this, that is true. STS as ideology are against technocracy and promote democracy and a proper role for science in the knowledge society.

    However, STS is also standard empirical science, using the scientific method (and far from all STS people are ideologists, and the differ also in what kind of ideology they advocate). You can´t refute the huge pile of empirical results from STS by simply shouting “ideology” and think that this will go “puff” and disappear. That makes you the non-scientific ideologist, perhans even an sorcerer ….

    Comment by Andreas Bjurström — 4 Mar 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  346. CFU (340), what the hell are you talking about?

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Mar 2010 @ 12:07 PM

  347. #332 Andreas Bjurström

    Logic is a funny thing. It can sometimes appear to be one thing and yet it can be something else entirely (depending on ones bias). But that does not change the logic, it only means it is subject to bias (Plato’s cave allegory). For example, for me to be committing a naturalistic fallacy I would need to be trying to prove a claim about ethics by appealing to a definition of the term good in terms of one or more natural properties (as exemplified ‘pleasant’, ‘desired’).

    Point of fact though, in my post #328 I am pointing out the legalistic interpretation, i.e. guilt or innocence by law in consideration of cause. My assertion in following the logic of your own statements is illustrated in the resulting conclusion that death by nuclear weapons or even murder are merely death by natural causes.

    In my last paragraph I discuss the origination and usage in historical context in that it oft rises from the ilk of fools and brigands. To be foolish is not a moralistic or ethical argument thus does not fall under the auspice of naturalistic fallacy. To be a brigand is a legalistic term and also not moralistic or related necessarily to ethics and thus does not fall under the auspice of the naturalistic fallacy.

    Or am I missing something?

    Lest we forget, I was following your logic, therefore, even ‘if’ a naturalistic fallacy was introduced, it would have originated from your argument. That would then mean you introduced the fallacy, not me. However, since the fallacy does not exist in the statement, the point is moot.

    Lastly, if we do not have a moral or ethical foundation, or a conception of right and wrong, then certainly nothing matters in the realm of law. But in truth that only matters idealistically. If that were the overarching state of society, you would probably not like it very much, nor would I.

    Example: Let’s say we have not ethical or moral bearing to guide society such as community good. Let’ say none of that sort of bearing exists. It’s a free for all. Would you still hold your ideal if someone decided to eat you for dinner? And let’s say they like fresh meat, so they don’t kill you, they just cut off a piece of you and cauterize the open would with burning embers.

    It’s just death by natural causes right? SO, you should have no problem with it in accord with your assertions drawn from your line of logic. But in reality, I am guessing that you would object. I’m guessing that the integrity of your beliefs and ideals (tied to or originated from if so held) that moral or ethical should not be connected to natural will be none existent. I’m guessing you would be begging the people not to eat you.

    Is not then the naturalistic fallacy a fallacious argument when applied to such an ultimate end in the realm of human behavior and therefore idealistic in construct?

    Please do explain how I am wrong (or illogical) in my considerations? If so, what am I missing? That ideals are merely goals not an ultimate end to be sought? Or merely to be sought after…, and to what end? OR that the naturalistic fallacy only applies in some circumstances depending on the situation?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 Mar 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  348. More on the IoP’s submission to the inquiry.

    There’s an article in the Guardian entitled: “Climate emails inquiry: Energy consultant linked to physics body’s submission”. The article is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/05/climate-emails-institute-of-physics-submission

    The “energy consultant” is named as Peter Gill and he is the boss of a company called Crestport Services, who offer “consultancy and management support services … particularly within the energy and energy intensive industries worldwide”. Gill is reported as saying:

    “If you don’t ‘believe’ in anthropogenic climate change, you risk at best ridicule, but more likely vitriolic comments or even character assassination. Unfortunately, for many people the subject has become a religion, so facts and analysis have become largely irrelevant.”

    and, on the Times Higher Education website…

    “Poor old CRU have been seriously hacked. The emails and other files are all over the internet and include how to hide atmospheric cooling.”

    Comment by Dave G — 4 Mar 2010 @ 4:49 PM

  349. In contrast to the drivel printed at the Guardian, a decent (and recent) little blurb in the LA Times:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/03/methane-arctic-ocean.html

    Comment by Kristan — 4 Mar 2010 @ 7:57 PM

  350. “Poor old CRU have been seriously hacked. The emails and other files are all over the internet and include how to hide atmospheric cooling.”

    Oh dear.

    Did the Times Higher Education website explain how you could hide atmospheric cooling by using thermometers (which are designed to measure temperature) rather than proxies (which are selected on their ability to show temperature changes)?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Mar 2010 @ 8:36 AM

  351. “Did the Times Higher Education website explain how you could hide atmospheric cooling by using thermometers (which are designed to measure temperature) rather than proxies (which are selected on their ability to show temperature changes)?”

    And the guy who wrote the drivel that your comment refers to helped to write the supposedly prestigious Institute of Physics’ submission to a Commons inquiry. One would have hoped for better qualified authors from such a body. I thought, when I first read the IoP’s submission, that it seemed a bit too McIntyresque for my liking. Maybe we know why now.

    Comment by Dave G — 5 Mar 2010 @ 12:58 PM

  352. Hide the rise:

    Climate sceptics guilty of double standards in condemnation over data

    Some climate change sceptics have been guilty of applying double standards in their condemnation of alleged misdeeds by researchers at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

    On 25 February, I wrote to Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation which is chaired by Lord Lawson, to warn him that a graph of “21st century global mean temperature” displayed prominently on his group’s website contains an error.

    Instead of showing that 2009 was the warmest year since 2005, the foundation’s graph portrays it as slightly cooler than 2006 and 2007.

    While it is a relatively small error, it is the kind of discrepancy that many sceptics would be seizing upon if it had been found on the website of the Climatic Research Unit.

    Yet Peiser still has not responded to me and the foundation’s graph still remains inaccurate. And it is not the first such error.

    When the foundation first launched its website in late November 2009, I wrote to Peiser to point out that his graph mistakenly showed 2003 instead of 2005 as the warmest year of the new century. He replied, acknowledging the error and stating that the graph was intended to represent the HADCRUT3 data series that is compiled by the Met Office’s Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

    The foundation corrected the error a few weeks later. When pressed, Peiser told journalists that “a graphic designer” was to blame for the problem and insisted that the graph was just “a logo”.

    Now that the foundation’s “logo” has been updated to include a data point for 2009, it has introduced a new misrepresentation of the data compiled by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia.

    I have also asked Peiser if Professor Ian Plimer, who is a member of the foundation’s “academic advisory council”, was involved in the preparation of the dodgy graph. Plimer’s recent book, which is promoted heavily as a “reference work” by sceptics, contains a figure which also misrepresents the HADCRUT3 data series.

    Yet the inaccurate portrayal of global temperature since 2001 is not the most misleading feature of the foundation’s graph. It is the fact that it excludes the entire temperature record from the 20th century, and thus the marked increase that has taken place such that nine of the 10 warmest years on record have all occurred in the last decade.”

    More:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/05/global-warming-thinktank-double-standards

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Mar 2010 @ 7:19 PM

  353. Met Office analysis reveals ‘clear fingerprints’ of man-made climate change

    It is an “increasingly remote possibility” that human activity is not the main cause of climate change, according to a major Met Office review of more than 100 scientific studies that track the observed changes in the Earth’s climate system.

    The research will strengthen the case for human-induced climate change against sceptics who argue that the observed changes in the Earth’s climate can largely be explained by natural variability.

    Scientists matched computer models of different possible causes of climate change – both human and natural – to measured changes in factors such as air and sea temperature, Arctic sea ice cover and global rainfall patterns. This technique, called “optimal detection”, showed clear fingerprints of human-induced global warming, according to Stott. “This wealth of evidence shows that there is an increasingly remote possibility that climate change is being dominated by natural factors rather than human factors.” The paper reviewed numerous studies that were published since the last IPCC report.

    Optimal detection considers to what extent an observation can be explained by natural variability, such as changing output from the sun, volcanic eruptions or El Niño, and how much can be explained by the well-established increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    According to Nasa, the last decade was the warmest on record and 2009 the second warmest year. Temperatures have risen by 0.2C per decade, over the past 30 years and average global temperatures have increased by 0.8C since 1880.

    The evidence that the climate system is changing goes beyond measured air temperatures, with much of the newest evidence coming from the oceans. “Over 80% of the heat that’s trapped in the climate system as a result of the greenhouse gases is exported into the ocean and we can see that happening,” said Stott. “Another feature is that salinity is changing – as the atmosphere is warming up, there is more evaporation from the surface of the ocean [so making it more salty], which is most noticeable in the sub-tropical Atlantic.”

    This also links into changes in the global water cycle and rainfall patterns. As the atmosphere warms, it has been getting more humid, exactly as climate modellers had predicted. “This clear fingerprint has been seen in two independent datasets. One developed in the Met Office Hadley Centre, corroborated with data from satellites.”

    More:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/05/met-office-analysis-climate-change

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 Mar 2010 @ 7:34 PM

  354. 353, Doug Bostrom, the Guardian article linked to the Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews, but I could not find the exact article. Have you found it?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Mar 2010 @ 11:01 PM

  355. Please add support for Facebook and other social networking sites to this blog to get much more exposure for real climate science.

    Comment by Mark Thormahlen — 7 Mar 2010 @ 9:27 AM

  356. I would ony say with a different denotation that peer review is the gold standard in the process of accepting a new paper supported by evidence and carried out with good analysis. Great post.

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 10 Mar 2010 @ 3:42 PM

  357. Jacob, the Guardian link is to the main page for Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. There, put the author’s name (Stott, found a few lines earlier in the Guardian story) in the search box at the top of the page; it finds it:

    http://wires.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-398222.html?query=Stott&x=0&y=0&journalWisId=WCC

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2010 @ 4:48 PM

  358. Septic Matthew says: 5 March 2010 at 11:01 PM

    I’m sorry, I only just noticed your post. No, I did not find the article either despite fairly extensive rummaging. I suspect the Guardian piece was based on a tout from the journal for an upcoming (next?) issue.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Mar 2010 @ 4:51 PM

  359. Doug Bostrom says: 10 March 2010 at 4:51 PM

    BTW, I’d love it if RC could do a synopsis on this application of “optimal detection.” I’m a little foggy on what optimal detection consists of, though perhaps there is an RC comments denizen who can shed light on the topic.

    This seems relevant:

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/2241154

    but I do not have the chops to tell, really.

    but

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 10 Mar 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  360. The news tonight is that Alexander Lebedev has very nearly clinched his deal to buy the Independent , which, unsually for the UK, has not been hostile to global warming science. His choice of editor will then be important for the politics of climate as well as the integrity of its reporting. This rumour is worrying:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/climate-denier-rod-liddle-considered-editor-position-independent

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 16 Mar 2010 @ 7:20 PM

  361. Doug, you and SM should have found the article, this still works:
    http://wires.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-398222.html?query=Stott&x=0&y=0&journalWisId=WCC

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Mar 2010 @ 8:30 PM

  362. > Lebedev, the Independent …

    Yep. They’re hitting at the weak spot. As deSmog says:

    “Democracy is utterly dependent upon an
    electorate that is accurately informed.”

    Nice while it lasted.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Mar 2010 @ 8:55 PM

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