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  1. “(I)t remains a viable (if somewhat uncommon) position to acknowledge that despite most climate scientists agreeing that there is a problem, one still might not want to do anything about emissions.”

    I’m afraid this position is all too common, albeit rarely stated overtly. The closely related position of “emissions reductions are too hard, so let’s dig for a techno-pony instead” is, as you know, heavily promoted. I would argue that the latter has the effect of facilitating the former.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 24 Jun 2010 @ 12:04 PM

  2. Of course that Richard Lindzen thinks – knows, to be more accurate – that attribution is impossible unless the “signal” exceeds “noise”. Isn’t it a tautology from statistics? Isn’t it how a “signal” is really defined?

    [Response: If you think that the only signal of sea level rise that can be recognized has to exceed 120m, then you are more than a little confused. - gavin]

    Richard emphasizes these points more often and more clearly than anyone else. The planet is “breathing” and these changes don’t have any simple-to-describe causes. It is a pretty much chaotic system. After all, that’s why Richard is skeptical even with respect to various “simple” answers about the causes of climate change that have been proposed by some of the skeptics, most notably with respect to cosmoclimatology.

    [Response: Lindzen is often wrong, but he isn't an idiot. - gavin]

    The idea that one can describe every wiggle of the climate by some manageable, predictive models – and that a cause for every wiggle has to be looked for and found – is just childish. There actually exists a consensus among all sensible people about pretty much all of these basic qualitative questions.

    [Response: Not sure who you are arguing with here. But wiggles at any scale usually have some set of scientists interested in them. - gavin]

    The only problem is that the consensus fundamentally disagrees with the texts one can read on the Real Climate blog.

    [Response: Let's leave that for the readers to decide, eh? Or perhaps it should be decided by relative Erdos numbers? ;) - gavin]

    Comment by Luboš Motl — 24 Jun 2010 @ 12:34 PM

  3. Well done gentlemen. Will your comments add much to the consensus argument? You end with ‘doubtful,’ I certainly hope you are incorrect.

    Comment by Jim Groom — 24 Jun 2010 @ 12:36 PM

  4. Based on the rage against this paper at some skeptic blogs, I thought the list of unconvinced scientists must have been derived from hacked emails and waterboarding.

    Comment by Richard T — 24 Jun 2010 @ 12:37 PM

  5. Would Eric’s objection to Prall’s dataset (which is mind you NOT given in the paper and not even precisely the list used in the paper, merely linked to by the package of material around the paper) be met if the dataset were made private or pulled down?

    I think this objection is a bit of a red herring: the signatories were more than willing to have their names associated with these petitions when they were in production and being sent off to whomsoever, and the underlying documents are still out there, so a “blacklist” be created from any of them. But would it really be this easy to satisfy Mr. Steig?

    Comment by bigcitylib — 24 Jun 2010 @ 12:42 PM

  6. It seems to me that there are a number of straightforward questions that scientists can answer for the general public to show whether or not there is a consensus. The questions are
    1) Is there reasonable certainty that global climate change occurring?

    [Response: Yes. Multiple independent datasets show consistent patterns of change. - gavin]

    2) Is there reasonable certainty that the dominant driving force in the climate change is caused by man? (What you call attribution.)

    [Response: This isn't quite what is meant by attribution. The dominant driving forces on climate are caused by man (chiefly the increase in GHGs, aerosols, land use change etc.), and it is very likely that this explains the bulk of the changes in the last few decades. - gavin]

    3) Is climate change something to raise concern over? That is, is it likely to cause significant adverse effects that people should worry about?

    [Response: Yes. Many of the choices that society has made implicitly rely on climate - where we grow crops, how close to the beach we build houses, what kind of houses we build, how we get our water etc. The climate changes foreseen under 'business as usual' policies will make obsolete many of those assumptions. ]

    4) Can we do anything to halt and/or undo the change?

    [Response: Yes. There are easy things - greater energy efficiency, reductions in methane and black carbon emissions etc. - and there are harder things, scaling up renewable energy sources, electrifying surface transport, international agreements - but those actions should be able to steer our course away from the worst impacts (although some further warming is inevitable and will need to be adapted to in any case). ]

    I think that these are simple enough yes or no questions that the average person will understand but informative enough to give a general consensus. The average person honestly doesn’t care about the specific wording of the IPCC report (please don’t take offense at this) but they want to know if global climate change is going to affect their lives.

    [Response: No offense taken! (and indeed, I completely agree). - gavin]

    Comment by Peter — 24 Jun 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  7. “For instance, one of us (Eric) feels more strongly that some of Prall’s classifications in his dataset cross a line (for more on Eric’s view, see his comments at Dotearth).”

    Are the comments section of this post an appropriate place to engage Eric on his Dot Earth comments? For instance, I’m sure I’m not alone in being more than a little puzzled by them. Especially:

    “The idea of listing the names of those people analyzed is disturbing for reasons that should be obvious. In this respect I completely agree with Roger that the “blacklist” metaphor is appropriate. And it cuts both ways too. People can now use this list to create their own “blacklist” of so-called “believiers.””

    There was no “listing of names” in the paper, the SI, or the link provided in the SI. This was a complete fabrication by some interested in discrediting the paper. The names *used* in generating data for the paper were taken from public statements, i.e. the only “lists” or “black lists” were those created by the signers themselves. It sounds an awful lot like Eric either didn’t read the paper, or is confused about where those data came from. There is no justification for disparaging Prall’s efforts as creating a “black list” from what I can see.

    If Eric could address this issue, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Comment by thingsbreak — 24 Jun 2010 @ 1:30 PM

  8. Gavin and Eric:

    I agree completely with your comment.

    However, a very large part of how the public responds to the ‘divide’ between “the consensus” and the “deniers”, has more serious roots:

    Generally, considering that technological applications of scientific models, developed to reduce uncertainty about real-world risks, have been widely successful for making life safer and more comfortable for an increasing fraction of the world population, why is there so little trust in the judgments of scientists who generate and test such models?

    To answer this question, let’s examine SOME of the roots of the divide between the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) scientific “consensus” and the view of the skeptical “deniers”:

    Can the divide be bridged?

    Beginning (near the turn of the 20th century) with the theoretical studies of Svante Arrhenius about how infrared absorbing gases help determine the surface temperature of the earth; then spurred by the reexamination of those models in the 1950’s, by Roger Revelle, and in the 1960’s, by Jule Charney; and then James Hansen’s modeling of the unique green-house-gas (GHG) forcing of the very hot atmospheric temperature of Venus – climatologists and geophysicists began to vigorously reexamine such models in greater detail. This was strongly stimulated by Charles Keeling’s accumulating data of the steadily increasing concentration of well-mixed atmospheric CO2, measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory, beginning in 1958, at about 317 ppm (and presently at about 390 ppm). Quite early, it became quite clear that the CO2 concentration had been flat, at about 280 ppm for centuries (if not millennia) prior to the growing burning of fossil carbon (coal, petroleum and natural gas) to fuel the industrial revolution. That CO2 record was the prototypical – and almost ‘noiseless’ – “hockey stick”.

    Although the most advanced theoretical climate models still leave uncertainty, particularly about the sign and magnitudes of the effects, on GHG feedbacks, of some low- and high-clouds, a consensus began to develop that threats of resulting increases in global temperature – and the very large risks associated with their possible consequences – deserved substantial increase in attention.

    Increasing efforts ensued to TRY to collect sufficiently unbiased, and statistically significant ‘other’ proxies for the hockey stick: global mean surface temperatures (GMST), ocean heat content (OHC), seal level rise (SLR), glacial ice-cores, sediment cores, tree-ring dendrology, etc. – all much ‘noisier’ than the Keeling curve. The GMST trend for the last 40 or so years has converged to something like a mean of +0.2ºC/century, with considerable spread to the associated ‘95% confidence interval’. The other proxies may be slightly less convincing – but are not too out of line. And the increasingly more realistic (and more complicated) climate models, initialized with historic data sets, provide predicted/projected extrapolations that are not ‘too’ far off either.

    There’s a general ‘feeling’ that such ‘reinforcing’ correlation of very different ‘kinds observations’ and models SHOULD help to build confidence above the level provided by each ‘independent’ data set. But SO FAR, no good ‘statistical’ tools exist for ‘averaging’ such diverse results to get a ‘net mean and its confidence interval’. In the breach, a widely accepted, but ‘uncomfortable’ paradigm has developed, among both scientists and policy makers, to tentatively rely on the collective intuitions and confidence of those ‘expert peers’ who are judged to be most familiar with the data sets and with the relevance of that data to related physical models.

    Even if the GMST trend were ‘only’ +0.1ºC/century, the associated risks would be delayed only by a ‘blink’ of geologic time – still demanding to be taken quite seriously, NOW! However, that conclusion is pretty much ignored!

    This certainly is an over-simplified account. But it probably describes the root of the origins of the mainstream AGW “consensus” – and of the current position of more conservative ‘warmists’ – and why they believe we must begin to seriously, at least, plan for mitigating AGW risks.

    Some of the apparent internal ‘contradictions’ just reviewed seem inimical to the mind-set of most skeptical “deniers”.

    They, and many others, are also put off by the record of apparent ‘failed jeremiahs’:

    1) Robert Malthus, who at the end of the 18th century, published his simple but penetrating theoretical econometric model, “An Essay on the Principle of Population”, that has turned out to have been ‘off’ in the timing of its predictions (but I believe, probably is about ‘correct’ in predicting what we must expect, if some appropriate changes in human behavior fail to accommodate – ‘in time’ – to the reality of the finite resources of our planet); and

    2) the predictions of the Club of Rome’s 1972, “The Limits to Growth”, that also have proven to have been somewhat premature.

    Whether there remains any residual truth is such “predictions” is ignored. A majority look at them as major scams, dishonestly foisted on the public by unscrupulous – or dishonest scientists.

    And the IPCC was supposed to adhere closely to “policy relevant” rather than “policy prescriptive” issues! How could the IPCC leadership get away with pushing their ideological perspective on the world, in such stark contravention of their assigned task? That policy relevance depends completely upon assigning values to possible outcomes, and therefore is inseparable from models of possible prescriptive cures, – that the charge is self-contradictory (and impossible?) – is ignored.

    Further:

    a) The perceptions of just where science fits – in the spectrum of beliefs – differ among policy makers, the general public – and, to some extent, even among scientists – and this also has to contribute a great deal to the resulting dissonance.

    b) It certainly doesn’t help that many believe motivation for science, does and should stem from values derived from Golden Rules (close to: pragmatic rules to govern personal behavior of members of a very communication-competent species, to tend to enhance biological ‘self’-preservation, through cooperation designed to maximize ‘group/species’-survival),

    c) while others, e.g., Logical Positivists, insist that science can, – and ‘should’ – be freed from all such metaphysical baggage (fundamentally incorrect conclusions, as I argue in the reference, below). And

    d) still others say the only motivation for ‘true’ science ‘must’ arise from value-free curiosity – whatever that is – poses other serious problems ;-)

    I believe these unpleasant pieces of the puzzle need to be fit into place in order to understand the internally conflicting positions of many honest “deniers”, and to understand and the positions of others who are committed to absolute confidence in the truth of some fundamental ‘axioms’ of their ideological (religious/mathematic/econometric/political) belief systems. Like so many others, as well, they don’t yet understand how to accommodate to the unavoidable finite range of residual uncertainties about ALL scientific ‘facts’. They fail to appreciate that observations only can increase or decrease – but never absolutely prove, or FALSIFY – confidence in scientific models/theories.

    Their conundrum therefore remains: which models/theories of science can be trusted; HOW MUCH can they be trusted; and why? So far, science and science education rarely even attempt to answer these questions in a straightforward manner!

    For further ‘clarification’ of these latter points, see:

    “The Sceptical Scientific Mind-Set in the Spectrum of Belief: It’s about models of ‘reality’ – and the unavoidable incompleteness of evidence, for – or against – any model”, for THE(?) argument of why science provides the ONLY reliable tools to help us to deal with real-world risks!

    http://www.pipeline.com/~lenornst/ScienceInTheSpectrumOfBelief.pdf

    Comment by Len Ornstein — 24 Jun 2010 @ 1:41 PM

  9. Regardless of the authors’ motives, there now exists a list of people who have signed petitions of widely varying subjects and goals. They will be lumped together. It will be used as a blacklist.

    [Response: Oh please. Michael Tobis has said all there is to say with respect to this. Take it over there. - gavin]

    Given Spencer Weart’s almost immediate dismissal of this paper, I find it astonishing that you attempt to keep it alive as possibly relevant to the climate change discussion or to science itself.

    Eric, your comments to Roger Pielke Jr. were much more salient yesterday. This is junk science that will be used maliciously. Do the world a favor and say so here, as you did yesterday at Pielke’s blog, where you wrote:

    “Wow. Roger, you know I disagree with you on many things, but not on this.
    What the heck where they thinking? Even if the analysis had some validity — and from a first glance, I’m definitely not convinced it does — it’s not helpful, to put it mildly. I’m totally appalled.”

    Comment by Tom Fuller — 24 Jun 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  10. Peter (6) — I recommend reading Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”:
    http://www.marklynas.org/2007/4/23/six-steps-to-hell-summary-of-six-degrees-as-published-in-the-guardian
    We already experiencing some of the effects of the first degree.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Jun 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  11. I think one should consider some confounding factors here:

    1. What are the political leanings of the convinced list?

    [Response: The 'CE' list is that of people who have signed statements basically calling for emission cuts. There is no further insight into their political leanings. - gavin]

    As AGW is a highly politicized field, is it not true that this may simply be a measure that most of the highly qualified scientists are Democrat, or lean to the left? Academia is heavily biased toward the left, so one would expect most highly degree’d researchers to be left leaning.

    [Response: But these aren't statements about the most qualified scientists, just those who signed public letters calling for action. However, there certainly are a wide diversity of political beliefs among climate scientists and though I won't go through lists, I know a few strong Republicans and few that are more to the left, and more than a few independents. However, for the vast majority of my climate scientist colleagues, I have no idea since it doesn't come up in conversation much. - gavin]

    2. If research funding is heavily biased in favor of proving AGW, would not the natural result be the one that was found?

    [Response: It isn't, so your question is moot. Look up some of the NSF awards on the subject (all online), they simply aren't the kind of thing you imagine. - gavin]

    Whether research is heavily biased toward “proving AGW” is a slippery topic that cannot be readily proven. An interesting question though. Maybe someone should do a paper on it (ha ha).

    [Response: Sure it can, Read the abstracts of what does get funded. - gavin]

    Although research results are supposed to be neutral, I expect there is a lot of pressure to produce results that confirm AGW. This tends to show up with a lot of highly qualified scientists making questionable statements to the media to the effect of “we believe X is a result of AGW, but we need to perform further research to confirm this…”.

    [Response: This is simply fantasy. - gavin]

    3. A reminder, being smart != being right. It may mean it is more likely though.

    It may also be the case that nobody knows an answer with any meaningful degree of certainty, which I believe to be the case here. When forced to take a position, if more PhD’s say a coin will land heads up, it is not meaningful data. Crappy analogy, but you get the point.

    Comment by Tom S — 24 Jun 2010 @ 2:21 PM

  12. Re Gavin’s response to #2: “Or perhaps it should be decided by relative Erdos numbers? ;)”

    Ooh, so painful, so richly deserved. This one goes into my favorites folder.

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 24 Jun 2010 @ 2:23 PM

  13. Glad to see you guys weigh in on this and that you recognize some of the shortcomings of the paper. To me at least, using proxies to both assign individuals to one group or another and to assess their credibility is problematic. If, however, instead of trying to make their findings about the fairly subjective term of credibility, the authors had instead used the term “credentials” as you do above, the paper would likely not have created quite the stir it did and might be a better piece of work.

    Comment by BobN — 24 Jun 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  14. Reference: “Climate Cover-Up” by James Hoggan. The first reason for confusion is the fossil fuel industry, notably the Western Fuels Association, Exxon-Mobil and Koch Oil Co have spent half a billion dollars so far to confuse everybody. They have succeeded with a great many people.

    The second reason for the confusion is the journalistic habit of selling newspapers by reporting controversy, whether there is any or not.

    The third, but most important reason for confusion is the poverty of education. Most high school students take no physics at all. Most people don’t go beyond high school. Whatever the reasons for this, the result is an electorate that is easily led astray. Anderegg et al’s paper would not be necessary if almost all citizens had an education appropriate to a high technology civilization.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Jun 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  15. I hope that my earlier post was not taken as an AGW denial. I meant it only as a suggestion on how to investigate the opinion of the majority of climatologists and communicate that to the general public. I understand the statement that the climatologists (and scientists in general) may not be entirely interested in responding to a survey, but limitting it to 4 very simple and straightforward questions couldn’t hurt.

    David: Very interesting and terrifying article. The text of the 3rd degree seems to indicate that we are already in a very dire situation. It is my opinion that we can not possibly get the world to reduce it’s carbon emissions. :( I will not be sleeping well tonight.

    Comment by Peter — 24 Jun 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  16. Personally I am incredibly disappointed that Pielke Jnr and Spencer, amongst other ‘skeptics’ have decided to use this paper to play victim. The whole “black list” myth is pure political spin and nothing more. Shame on you Roger Pielke Jnr and you too Roy Spencer.

    Anderegg et al. decided who to place in the UE group according to which petitions or letters of protest the people in question elected to add their names to. If someone else has a better objective way, then please let us hear it. They willfully placed their names on those petitions, and in doing so signed off on the statement that went with said petition or letter arguing that AGW/ACC is a non-issue. for example.

    So I am dumbfounded how they claim to be on some fictitious “black list”, when they are happy to publicly state their stance on one or more petitions.

    It is also ironic that it is the skeptics who repeatedly claim that there is no consensus (e.g., Solomon’s recent claims) and then when presented with quantitative evidence to the contrary cry foul and descend into invoking Godwin’s law, the Spanish inquisition, McCarthyism and mysterious “black lists”.

    IMHO, the “consensus” on the validity of AGW/ACC arises from the scientific literature and observations, and multiple independent lines of evidence pointing to a discernible and increasing anthropogenic finger print on the climate system, and not necessarily form a head count of scientists being in one group or the other.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 24 Jun 2010 @ 3:15 PM

  17. Gavin: Look up some of the NSF awards on the subject…

    NSF maintains a marvelous database, freely accessible. Here’s a link with the query parameters set to an appropriate program.

    Recent NSF awards in “CLIMATE & LARGE-SCALE DYNAMICS”

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 24 Jun 2010 @ 3:18 PM

  18. Gavin and Eric- You have mischaracterized the PNAS paper, it does not make any claim whatsoever to be segregating people based on their politics, as you suggest, but purely on their views of science.

    This confusion/conflation gets to the nub of the matter:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/06/is-it-science-or-is-it-politics.html

    [Response: Sorry, but it is you that are confused. First off, the statement in the above post you quote "So, do climate scientists..." is perfectly true and not actually referenced to the paper you want to discuss. Second, there is no indication anywhere in any list of what people's 'politics' are - merely whether they have publicly pushed for policies that would regulate emissions or not. This in no way determines someone's 'politics'. Third, the comparisons in the paper are among people that have signed letters that advocate for something, not merely lists of people that agree with the IPCC report. Try reading them! Whatever flaws or ambiguities exist in the paper, the use of the letters as source materials for any comparison cannot purely be a test of agreement with the IPCC (as we stated above - you could agree with every word in the IPCC report and still not want to do anything about emissions), but must be a test of someone's opinion about what to do about it.

    For instance, the Bali letter was in support of a 2 deg C guardrail for temperature, the Cato letter was against any action on emissions, the 1992 SEPP letter was against 'immediate action' on emissions etc. - each of the letters is clearly related to policy (though generally not in a very specific sense). Thus the only way in my mind to interpret a comparison of signers is a categorization by policy direction, not understanding or agreement on the science. Perhaps the authors of the PNAS paper would disagree, but that is up to them. Do not confuse something they may or may not have said with what I and Eric have said. We aren't the same people. Thanks! - gavin]

    [Further Response: My characterisation of the Cato letter is not right. It's not explicit what the signers are advocating (though implicitly the message is clear). The advocacy of the SPPI letter is much more explicit. - gavin]

    Comment by Roger Pielke, Jr. — 24 Jun 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  19. -16-MapleLeaf

    I am not a skeptic, nor am I on any of the Anderegg et al. lists, nor have I signed any petitions. Thanks!

    Comment by Roger Pielke, Jr. — 24 Jun 2010 @ 3:28 PM

  20. Tom S (11) — I urge you to consider the simplified physics in
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530
    which explains the last 13 decades of the instrumental record as primarily due to increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Peter (15) — I encourage you to encourage many people to read it.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Jun 2010 @ 3:45 PM

  21. #11

    Although research results are supposed to be neutral, I expect there is a lot of pressure to produce results that confirm AGW.

    What motive would there be for this?

    Comment by Andrew Adams — 24 Jun 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  22. #9 Regardless of the authors’ motives, there now exists a list of people who have signed petitions of widely varying subjects and goals. They will be lumped together. It will be used as a blacklist.

    By whom and for what purpose? Anyway the lists on Prall’s website have been there for ages – how come people are only complaining now?

    [Response: Rhetorical convenience is the obvious answer. But can we not go down this ridiculous 'black list' rabbit hole? There are real issues and real harassment and real persecutions going on without having to invent reasons to be outraged. - gavin]

    Comment by Andrew Adams — 24 Jun 2010 @ 3:50 PM

  23. Len Ornstein wrote,
    “They, and many others, are also put off by the record of apparent ‘failed jeremiahs’:

    2) the predictions of the Club of Rome’s 1972, ‘The Limits to Growth’, that also have proven to have been somewhat premature.”

    A bit off topic but I’d like to respond regarding the belief, widely held by people who haven’t read the book, that The Limits to Growth prematurely predicted doom.

    Looking forward from 1970, the model of Meadows et al. does predict doom in the form of population/resource/pollution overshoot and collapse. But that doom isn’t supposed to have happened by now. The model’s standard run (Figure 36) depicts world population climbing until the mid-21st century before crashing down.

    They carefully state that this is not meant as a firm prediction,
    “The exact timing of these events is not meaningful, given the great aggregation and many uncertainties in the model. It is significant, however, that growth is stopped well before 2100.” (p.132)

    It seems premature to call this warning premature, does it not?

    Comment by Gneiss — 24 Jun 2010 @ 4:06 PM

  24. Tom Fuller: “Regardless of the authors’ motives, there now exists a list of people who have signed petitions of widely varying subjects and goals. They will be lumped together. It will be used as a blacklist.”

    Umm…Tom? Those lists have been out there for a long time. Direct your faux outrage towards Inhofe/Morano, for starters.

    Comment by MarkB — 24 Jun 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  25. Just to make a couple of things clearer. First, a database with cross tabs on various issues can be looked at in many ways and even if someone doesn’t like the way Anderegg et al have done it, anyone can do it any way they choose (as we did above).

    Second, please do not bother leaving comments with ridiculously stretched analogies. You might be surprised at how close to home some of those historical events are to many people here, and the trivialisation of those issues by their use on this issue demeans everyone who uses them. So just don’t.

    Comment by gavin — 24 Jun 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  26. Calling on AGU climate science experts:

    http://www.agu.org/news/press/pr_archives/2010/2010-14.shtml

    This has the potential to go a long way to combat disinformation and a confused media.

    Comment by MarkB — 24 Jun 2010 @ 4:27 PM

  27. Len 8,

    Try 0.2 K per DECADE, not per CENTURY.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Jun 2010 @ 4:34 PM

  28. Dear RC

    Of course that Richard Lindzen thinks – knows, to be more accurate – that attribution is impossible unless the “signal” exceeds “noise”. Isn’t it a tautology from statistics? Isn’t it how a “signal” is really defined?

    [Response: If you think that the only signal of sea level rise that can be recognized has to exceed 120m, then you are more than a little confused. - gavin]

    From Lubos Motl’s post I often see this argument about the noise and the signal. Is this spurious or real in climate science. One alleged climate scientist I spoke with online once via a forum beat me around the head with this statistical fact. I still cant find a valid answer to it but its one that needs to be addressed so I can answer him back.

    I am presumng that this article is refering to the NAS report on the medias attitude to ACC?

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/05/19/national-academy-of-sciences-america%e2%80%99s-climate-choices-global-warming/

    Quite frankly here in the UK the BBC is forever (when it does discuss it) putting forward both arguments constantly in some kind of liberal act of a balanced view point. Its just not right to do it this way but it is the way it is done. In the USA both sides are heard but not so much balance is given I guess.

    Comment by pete best — 24 Jun 2010 @ 4:39 PM

  29. Andrew Adams 21: What motive would there be for this?

    [Brain voice:] To take over the world!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Jun 2010 @ 4:40 PM

  30. “Yes. There are easy things – greater energy efficiency, reductions in methane and black carbon emissions etc.”

    And how about rapid phasing out of all subsidies on fossil fuel. How hard is that?

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 24 Jun 2010 @ 4:57 PM

  31. to #9,
    There is nothing more dangerous to the future of mankind than the IPCC report and the articles derived from it painting the scenarios of 350 ppb or 450 ppb or 550 ppb of CO2. The assumption that we can smoothly forecast the future climate beyond what is visible out the kitchen window is highly misleading. We live with an atmosphere composed of 393ppb CO2. Any forecasting of our future climate even with no increase in GHG is fantasy.
    The IPCC works with knowns and refuses to entertain the possibilities, rightfully so for fear of opening itself to charges of sensationalism, of the unknowns. Today scientists can’t tell you what will be the minimum extent of arctic ice this summer or quantify the cubic kilometers of ice lost from 2009 to 2010. I can assure you however that the scientific consensus will underestimate the actual as it has consistently done in the past.
    Picture climate as a large soft inflated balloon floating in a room and 1C as a poke in its side 3 centimeters deep. Scientists calculate where that poke will propel the balloon. But as the balloon crosses the room it passes other people who are free to poke it with various energies, left,right,up,down,forward and even backward. How much are you willing to bet on the scientist’s forecast? Mankind is betting its future on the scientists forecasts of life at 450ppb. How comfortable are you with that? If I told you that I just read of plumes of methane being discovered rising in the Arctic ocean, would that change your comfort level?

    Comment by w kensit — 24 Jun 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  32. Phil Scadden (30) — Hard, but give it a try.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Jun 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  33. Dear Roger,

    Let me be clear, I was talking about “skeptics” in general. I singled you and Spencer out for your inflammatory blog posts. I never said you were on the UE list.

    That said, going by the content that you elect to place on your blog, I’m afraid you sound very much like a “skeptic” or a contrarian perhaps. You are certainly skeptical of the IPCC and WGII in particular.

    Anyhow, I know that you are not in the UE database, so all the more reason to be perplexed why you are getting so upset; and why on earth are you using this paper as an opportunity to make ridiculous assertions about fictitious nefarious lists on your blog? You seem to be trying to pick a fight for no justifiable reason (I am trying to leave your dad out of this, so please don’t go there, besides he can fight his own battles if need be, no?).

    As others have stated, Dr. Tobis is has summarized the paper and its context very nicely. This outrage by those critics of climate science is much at to do about nothing and seemingly has been jumped on by you and others for the purpose of trying to score political points. Do you agree with what Spencer said? I would very much appreciate an answer. Thanks.

    The real travesty here is that some climate scientists really are being persecuted, yet you have not been terribly vocal, if at all, in condemning the suggestions of Beck, Morano, Limbaugh, Cuccinelli and Inhofe. IMHO, your credibility would benefit much more from taking the aforementioned persons to task rather than providing more fodder for the ‘skeptics’. With respect, in failing to do so you really have no reason to whine about this.

    [Response: While I might agree that it is quite disingenuous of Pielke to complain here, but not in previous much more egregious cases, that doesn't mean that he is wrong.--eric]

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 24 Jun 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  34. Gavin (#18)

    Thanks kindly for your response. A few replies.

    First, you write, “Whatever flaws or ambiguities exist in the paper, the use of the letters as source materials for any comparison cannot purely be a test of agreement with the IPCC (as we stated above – you could agree with every word in the IPCC report and still not want to do anything about emissions), but must be a test of someone’s opinion about what to do about it. . . Thus the only way in my mind to interpret a comparison of signers is a categorization by policy direction, not understanding or agreement on the science. Perhaps the authors of the PNAS paper would disagree, but that is up to them. Do not confuse something they may or may not have said with what I and Eric have said.”

    You do realize I hope that with these statements you have completely undercut the entire methodology of the PNAS paper? I had thought that this post was about that paper. If it is about something else, then indeed I am confused. I have characterized the paper as an inkblot, and perhaps that is what we see here.

    [Response: All we see here is you continually 'misunderstanding' things in order to make sophmoric debating points. You do not seem to tire of this, but I certainly have. - gavin]

    2. Thank’s for the lecture of the definition of “politics” — I will share with my colleagues in political science ;-)

    [Response: Let me know if they want the definition of science too. ;-) - gavin]

    3. But lets take your spin on the paper rather than the authors’and let me ask a follow up question — To be clear, do you really think that a 1992 statement on “immediate action” is relevant to discerning someone’s views on action in 2010? Really?

    [Response: Hey, I know what, why don't you ask him? In the meantime, please note that this is completely besides the point. The database exists and people can do any comparison that they feel is meaningful. If you want to focus on letters written since 2007, go right ahead. Be sure to let us know how it turns out. - gavin]

    PS. Some of us actually have lives, so if you want specific responses after work hours, you might need to be a little patient.

    Comment by Roger Pielke Jr. — 24 Jun 2010 @ 5:56 PM

  35. -33-Maple Leaf

    Thanks for the response. My “skepticism” of IPCC WGII has to do with its misrepresentation of peer reviewed science involving work that I’ve contributed to. if you’d like to learn more, drop me an email or read the relevant posts on my blog. I hardly think that asking for science to be correct is qualifications for the old “skeptic” label, but who knows these days;-)

    I have not read Spencer’s comments, sorry.

    Do you really want to claim that I have not criticized Inhofe and Cuccinelli? I have a pending debate with Morano in the works. I generally ignore Limbaugh and Beck, though beck did criticize soccer, which I saw as way over the line, and said so. ;-)

    Anyway, your criticisms will be much more solid if you inform yourself of my actual views. Thanks!

    Comment by Roger Pielke Jr. — 24 Jun 2010 @ 6:03 PM

  36. I have posted on the PNAS paper on my weblog – Comments On The PNAS Article “Expert Credibility In Climate Change” By Anderegg Et Al 2010 [http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/comments-on-the-pnas-article-expert-credibility-in-climate-change-by-anderegg-et-al-2010/]

    [edit out offensive statement]I propose your readers comment our paper (of which all of the authors are AGU Fellows]:

    Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R.
    Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W.
    Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow,
    J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate
    change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases.
    Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American
    Geophysical Union.
    http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/r-354.pdf

    including comments on the three hypotheses, discussed in our paper, that I reproduce below

    Hypothesis 1: Human influence on climate variability and change is of minimal importance, and natural causes dominate climate variations and changes on all time scales. In coming decades, the human influence will continue to be minimal.

    Hypothesis 2a: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and involve a diverse range of first order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades.

    Hypothesis 2b: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and are dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, the most important of which is CO2. The adverse impact of these gases on regional and global climate constitutes the primary climate issue for the coming decades.

    [Response: The problem with this paper is that it strongly implies that Hypothesis 2a is original, and that the rest of the climate science research community thinks that only 2b applies. That's a strawman argument. Furthermore, these are not well-separated, mutually exclusive hypotheses, which means that choosing one over the other is misleading. Yes, I have read the paper.--eric]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 24 Jun 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  37. Gneiss (23)

    I agree with you. Note I said “apparent”.

    B. P. Levenson (27)

    Wow! Thanks. What a dumb typo! Hope most readers recognized them (also “+ 0.1/century”) as typos.

    Comment by Len Ornstein — 24 Jun 2010 @ 6:16 PM

  38. Mr MapleLeaf, your calling on Rodger to deliver ritual denunciations to enhance his perceived credibility in your mind, neatly demonstrates the problem here. Fact is, like or not, a number of notables from across the entire spectrum on climate/politics et al, that agree on little else, are reflexively discomforted by this paper.

    Comment by Zer0th — 24 Jun 2010 @ 6:49 PM

  39. “The real travesty here is that some climate scientists really are being persecuted.”

    Amen to that!

    Dr. Jones almost killed himself and the bloggers mocked him. Cuccinelli is persecuting Dr. Mann. He want all his papers so he can find something to hang a fraud charge on.

    I didn’t understand what those Republicans were until Climategate. Now I get it.

    Comment by Snapple — 24 Jun 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  40. #6

    1) Data in deep-sea cores demonstrates climate is capable of dramatic change, and it does not require human interference for that to occur. Instrumental record of last hundred years shows climate changes on many time scales.

    2) Yes, because of the huge increases in GHG, but there is no proof. Climate always changes, and our understanding of past changes also lacks clear proof (important point).

    3) Yes and no, the observations and proxy data such as deep-sea cores shows that climate will very likely change in the future, whether human emissions have a significant effect is entirely unknown (no proof). Research on human GHGs and their effect may be pointless, since the future climate may have already been determined thousands of years ago. Indeed, with a quick glance at the deep-sea core record, it does not take much imagination to figure out what is likely to happen next. The system appears to be deterministic.

    4) Unlikely. Deep-sea cores confirm glacial cycles. We only have a few hundred decades left, so you better grow some body hair.

    Comment by Average Person — 24 Jun 2010 @ 7:07 PM

  41. I have enormous respect for Anderegg et al, and Naomi Oreskes. It takes a lot of courage to paint such a huge target on themselves and their work by shining a light on the scummy underside of climate denial.

    The vitriol and calumny that floods towards these scientists is simply reprehensible, and a sign of the lack of respect for science that permeates society. It is a violent knee-jerk reaction that never pauses to ask “who is right?”

    Those other unfortunate scientists (such as Mann or Jones) who never asked to be thrust into the centre of this manufactroversy have my total sympathy, and my full support. History will vindicate them, but that’s not enough.

    Comment by Didactylos — 24 Jun 2010 @ 7:24 PM

  42. #36 — Why would *reflexive* discomfort of notables be something to appeal to? It implies a gut decision, not a thoughtful consideration.

    Comment by Steven Sullivan — 24 Jun 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  43. Eric – Please elaborate, however, on why hypotheses 2a and 2b are not sufficiently distinct. The 19 authors of our 2009 EOS paper concluded that they are. Hypothesis 2b is clearly the emphasis of the 2007 IPCC reports.

    As we wrote in our article

    “The evidence predominantly suggests that humans are significantly altering the global environment, and thus climate, in a variety of diverse ways beyond the effects of human emissions of greenhouse gases, including CO2. Unfortunately, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment did not sufficiently acknowledge the importance of these other human climate forcings in altering regional and global climate and their effects on predictability at the regional scale.”

    Also, you state that Hypothesis 2a is not original. Please refer us to where this perspective is discussed in the IPCC (and CCSP) reports.

    [Response: Eric can speak for himself, but other forcings are discussed in WG1 Chapter 2, section 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, through most of chapter 6, and all of chapter 7. The dominance of CO2 among the greenhouse gases is seen in fig 2.20 and fig 2.21 as well as the diversity of other forcings. - gavin]

    [Response: To answer your question about hypotheses 2a and 2b, it simply depends on what aspect of the climate system you are talking about. In many land areas, deforestation has a huge impact on the local climate, certainly larger than CO2, so far (Hypothesis 2a). In the central Pacific, it is certainly not land use that dominates; CO2 probably does (Hypothesis 2b). To suggest these are mutually exclusive is just wrong.
    --eric]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 24 Jun 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  44. Really? We knew all about character assassination from our experience with Democrats!

    Both sides do it, and have been for a long time. Doesn’t make it right, it just makes it an unfortunate reality.

    I really don’t understand why any scientist would sign the long petition that has many points unless one is in total agreement. There isn’t a line item veto or signing statement that goes with it – if I didn’t agree with all of it, I dang sure wouldn’t put my name on it. “Clarifying” what parts one agreed or disagreed with after the fact invariably sounds like trying to weasel out of one’s signature to the document (even when it is genuine).

    Comment by Frank Giger — 24 Jun 2010 @ 8:12 PM

  45. I shall try to recall my state of mind before I knew much about this subject. I did not have to rely entirely on authority because I could struggle with some of the original publications ,i.e a better kind of authority. But asking the judgements of experts was a major part of learning.

    Which experts? This can be an important choice when there is some controversy. I personally would not have found the Anderegg et al paper that useful for the reasons I have given here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/06/leakegate-a-retraction/comment-page-3/#comment-178631

    However there are other indicators

    1. Does the author provide evidence of having considerable experience in the precise topic concerned? For example I was always supicious about so called experts who would rant about climate models without appearing to have worked in the area. (How about Freeman Dyson? and even some climatologists?).

    1a). Parts of climatology are mathematical.I would tend to give more weight to theoretical papers written by professional theorists than observational scientists who tend to write like amateurs when it comes to analysis. You can find examples in Tamino’s blogs at Open Mind (or of course RC).

    1b). The above argument has been been used in reverse to attack climatologists over their lack of statistical expertise especially over the first hockey stick paper by MBH. As I see it the reason for recent progress in this area has to do with improved data rather than improved statistical methods. I now think the original attack doesn’t stand up (see RC, Open Mind,Wahl and Ammann) although some anti-consensus scientists keep on echoing this old argument.

    2. In the case of theoretical papers,have their conclusions been confirmed by subsequent observations?
    Lindzen’s adaptive iris and his suggestions about negative feedback from water vapour are examples. They sound attractive at first sight because they provide a modern contradiction to Arrhenious’s initial paper. But time has passed and it should have become clearer. The first idea has never been substantiated by other work, and the second one has to contend with mounting observational and theoretical counter-evidence.

    3. I cannot help being influenced by some items which are not in the peer reviewed papers e.g. the popular writings of the same authors. It may be slightly illogical, but if they contain too much populist spin I become much more skeptical about the serious writings as well. Any writings by authors of some really bad papers fall into the same category. How do we know? It may require some skill but RC and Open Mind have been here to help and they have not been shown to be wrong over these very bad papers.

    4. I also have some experience in talking to other scientists both for and against the consensus in the core conclusions. I have noticed that the second category invariably consists of people who have not had the time to inform themselves and have had to rely on the media.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 24 Jun 2010 @ 8:20 PM

  46. It would appear that Tom S. is echoing Conservipedia in concluding that reality has a liberal bias.

    FWIW, I would not view the Anderegg paper as assessing credibility so much as assessing how positions re the consensus affect productivity. It is not that there are no smart denialists. It is rather that their rejection of consensus science regarding Earth’s climate places them at a tremendous disadvantage in trying to understand it.

    I would contend that this certainly has implications for their credibility on these matters and on policy, but to characterize the result as a “blacklist” is simply absurd. Scientists who are expert in a field generally know who to trust based on their experience and understanding–and the methods they use are not dissimilar. This work merely makes those assessments intelligible to a less expert population.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Jun 2010 @ 8:33 PM

  47. Regarding “Expert Credibility in Climate Change” (which is open access by the way) a friend of mine stated, “… the only ‘lists’ or ‘black lists’ were those created by the signers themselves.”

    I believe this is the point that really needs to be driven home. That and the fact that what the “contrarians” are really upset about is that they were trying by means of their lists to create the appearance that the climatology community is evenly divided — but now those lists and lists by scientists that affirm the conclusions of mainstream science have been used to show just how un-divided the scientific community actually is.

    The contrarians are a tiny but vocal and well-financed minority, similar to the libertarian/industry-funded scientists that opposed the regulation/phasing-out of dioxins, CFCs, asbestos, and cigarettes. (For more on this readers might want to consult the book “Doubt is Their Product” by David Michaels.) They publish less often, are cited less often, typically they are much closer to retirement as opposed to the concerned scientists, and even when they do publish in the peer-reviewed literature, typically their views are much more conventional than what they choose to express in the popular press.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Jun 2010 @ 8:58 PM

  48. From a layman’s perspective, even one who only remembers the textbook definition of the scientific method from undergraduate chemistry, any kind of consensus of opinions should be irrelevant to a scientific endeavor. We think scientists should be using the working theory to make predictions for the future that can be measured and verified – preferably as clearly as possible in advance that success can be properly lauded. Right now, however, we are lead to believe that the complexity of the Earth’s climate is such that any type of short-term prediction is an ineffective measure, but simultaneiously, the center of a severe crisis. Proving that C02 is a greenhouse gas and that man produces alot of it, falls far short of proving the climate models can be predictive. We are being asked to fund a multi-trillion dollar, civilization-changing, socio-political experiment without seeing evidence of predictability. If your computer models cannot stand up strongly enough to make reasonable predictions of near-term climate effects, then the word “crisis” should leave the debate along with several trailing zero’s at the end of the funding check. We are not asking you to predict the world’s climate on the day of next year’s World’s Cup Final, we are only asking for some kind of measurable predictability. [edit - defamatory and vague accusations removed] will not convince anyone anymore. We’ve learned that you can say anything you want with statistics. Now, making predictions that can be measured…that’s evidence worth writing a check for.

    [Response:Your arguments about non-predictibility is nonsensicle. If I tell you that breathing asbestos has a high probability of causing lung cancer, but that you won't be able to see the effect for 10-20 years, what is your response? Breathe deep?--eric]

    Comment by Edward A. Barkley — 24 Jun 2010 @ 9:45 PM

  49. The above back and forth between Roger Pielke Jr and Rc (#18) just illuminated for me one of the significant problems with the Anderegg et al paper. In defining its grouping, it uses singed delcarations/letters which are political statements regarding appropriate actions/inactions as proxies for assessing a scientific conclusions regarding the attribution of recent warming. some of this political statements may be reasonable proxies for a scientist’s position on the relative role of GHGs (e.g., the 2008 Manhattan Declaration) while others (e.g. the 1992 SePP Statement and the 1995 Leipzig Declaration) are decidely poor proxies, both because of the great amount of time between these statements and the 2007 AR4 report and because neither addresses attribution in any meaningful way but rather objects to the assumption of “catastrophic” impacts from the ongoing warming. So in a sense both Pielke Jr and GAvin and Eric are right. The paper purports it’s classification syste as being about science but really it is about politics.

    Relative to Pielke Sr.’s comments above, it sems crazy to me to so quickly dismiss his position as unoriginal or that it suggest that only option 2B applies. It is very clear from the Anderegg et al paper that they were attempting to gauge agreement with option 2B from both the clear language in the paper and any other position was treated as Unconvinced by the evidence (ie. a skeptic, denier or contrarian). In my mind, I continue to be baffled by the AGW mainstream’s position when Pielke Sr.’s position (i.e., Yes, there is significant anthropogenic impact on climate, but it is due to more than just GHG) intuitively makes so much sense.

    [Response: To use an overused metaphor, you are basically asking "Do you still beat your wife, sir?". The point is that the "AGW" mainstream (at least, as represented by the IPCC) is not in conflict with Pielke's position, at least not the way it is expressed by you. As I note above the real problem with his position is that it is a false dicotomy. Both 2a and 2b are correct depending on what part of the system you are talking about. Pielke Sr. makes it sound like the 'mainstream' is missing something when they aren't. Hence the definition of a loaded question: one that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved. If Pielke Sr. gets classified as a skeptic, or contrarian, or whatever, it is due to this sort of misleading rhetoric. It may not purposefully intend to mislead, but it is misleading nevertheless, and in quite substantive ways (because it implies that the mainstream view that we probably ought to cut CO2 emissions is based on faulty science). Note, however, this none of this has anything to do with Anderegg et al., except that, if in fact he gets classified as a 'denier' in their analysis, this is probably why. --eric]

    Comment by BobN — 24 Jun 2010 @ 10:27 PM

  50. Hypothesis 2c: The human influences now dwarf natural influences and are dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, the most important of which is CO2. God help us if the developing world decides to reduce aerosols that are likely masking the true underlying GHG-induced warming. The adverse impact of GHGs on regional and global climate is the single most important issue facing humanity this century.

    Just keeping it real.

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 24 Jun 2010 @ 10:30 PM

  51. While I might agree that it is quite disingenuous of Pielke to complain here, but not in previous much more egregious cases, that doesn’t mean that he is wrong.

    It does, however, speak to morality and bias. Surely a paper that states “x% of real climate scientists support the mainstream view” is less injurious than what boil down to investigations with the filling of criminal charges as the intent?

    Pielke has had his chance to fight for truth, justice, and beauty and did not. Any criticism for him doing so now is fair subject for attack on the basis of bias, not the integrity of science.

    Right or wrong.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jun 2010 @ 10:51 PM

  52. Rather curious that Roger did not see the Inhofe auto-da-fe list as a problem, indeed a blacklist, but rather a provocation from Rick Piltz who first pointed it out.

    Were Eli Roger, (Eli knows screens across the world are being wiped), he would merely point out that Jim Prall is not alone in serving up red meat for his partisan followers. Over at his blog, Roger Pielke Jr. focuses on the Anderegg paper to also use these scientists for his own partisan purposes. In his comments he adds a good deal of intensity to the issue, writing about “blacklists” and “possible loss of grants” This is just as over-the-top as the PNAS paper, and just as unhelpful — if Pielke’s concern is to improve the role of climate science in policy and politics

    Whatever

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 24 Jun 2010 @ 11:03 PM

  53. We are being asked to fund a multi-trillion dollar, civilization-changing, socio-political experiment without seeing evidence of predictability.

    In essence, no you’re not. You’re being asked to decide if the scientific argument is strong enough for you to change your behavior.

    Society won’t – I gave up on that several years ago.

    All I ask for is honesty – would you people be honest enough to say “I don’t care, full speed ahead!” rather than *pretending* the science is wrong so you don’t look like such selfish, short-term thinking, damn the future generations ignorants?

    Really, all that is needed for peace in the climate wars is for people like you to be honest and to say, “I don’t care! Bring it on!”.

    Rather than pretend that if the science is really true, you’d change your political stance. Because you won’t, even though the science is really true.

    Honesty, please.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Jun 2010 @ 11:03 PM

  54. Gavin – You accept Hypothesis 2b. Thank you for answering clearly. Our EOS paper concluded otherwise, and it is informative to have a discussion by your readers of the three hypotheses on Real Climate. I look forward to reading them.

    [Response: Please do not put words into my mouth. First of all, I do not recognise your statements as hypotheses in any useful sense. Secondly, I see no contradiction in accepting that there are multiple sources of anthropogenic influences on climate (I think we will have over a dozen independent effects in the AR5 simulations we are doing), and acknowledging that because of the rate of the rise and the perturbation lifetime of CO2 emissions that they are the dominant issue moving forward. However that does not imply that only CO2 emission cuts are useful, and if you look at any of our recent policy-related work (Shindell et al, 2009; Unger et al, 2009), you will see a portfolio approach to calculating the impact of specific policies and sectors. See also this piece in Physics World. Thus neither 2a nor 2b properly encompass my views. Other forcings are neither negligible nor is CO2 just one issue among the rest. - gavin]

    Comment by Roger A. Pielke Sr. — 24 Jun 2010 @ 11:31 PM

  55. I think you have to take a bigger picture view of this.

    I’m an economist, with no bona fides to comment on the science here. But here’s what I think I know, relevant to the economics of this.

    If bromine had been cheaper than chlorine, we’d all be dead by now.

    That’s not my original insight. Most HCFCs have HBFC analogs (e.g. Halon not Freon). HCFCs could, with appropriate economic incentives, largely have been HBFCs. Bromine compounds are roughly an order of magnitude more destructive of the ozone layer. If bromine had been cheaper than chlorine, it would have been used, and we’d have been dead before we figured out what was going on.

    So, we lucked out, on the ozone-layer thing. Just so happens, essentially arbitrarily, the economics lined up in our favor.

    Fossil-fuel energy is cheaper than the alternatives. By analogy, what can one say? Oops?

    There is no reason whatsoever that the economics of energy consumption should, by itself, align with the ultimate impact. There is no linkage unless we create one.

    So, where the chance alignment of economics and science saved us on HCFCs, it’s going to kill us on fossil fuels.

    As a species, we are large enough that we, in effect, roll dice for the planet. Throw them enough times, heedlessly, and we will eventually be ruined.

    The only thing that’s going to work is making fossil fuels more expensive than alternative sources of energy. And if that reduces our current standard of living, so be it.

    Comment by Christopher Hogan — 24 Jun 2010 @ 11:33 PM

  56. Re 48 Edward A. Barkley
    We’ve learned that you can say anything you want with statistics.

    Okay, so in order to be percieved as honest, we are no longer allowed to use math?

    Now, making predictions that can be measured…that’s evidence worth writing a check for.
    Svante Arrhenius (sp?) quite some time ago
    Hansen in the 80s
    off the top of my head

    Right now, however, we are lead to believe that the complexity of the Earth’s climate is such that any type of short-term prediction is an ineffective measure, but simultaneiously, the center of a severe crisis.

    So you don’t understand unforced (internal) variability. Doesn’t mean others don’t. Look up difference between weather and climate. A climatic state includes the texture of internal variability, but the same texture can occur with different exact weather events. It’s a bit like comparing two lawns. Mowed the same, watered, fertilized, etc, they’d tend to look the same if you aren’t actually counting individual blades of grass. That’s like climate. For another analogy, consider severe weather watches. Are they completely bogus? They don’t predict hours in advance that an EF2 tornado will touch down at the corner of Elm and Rock street at 3:49 PM. Yet they can predict that there will be some severe weather in the general area, or at least more of it or more likely than at another day and time and place (the weather/climate distinction can (at least in analogy) be shifted on different timescales – for example, the exact timing and location of the landing of a snowflake may be a weather event while a blizzard may be like a climatic state (predictable at least minutes in advance). The present day arrangement of the continents is like a manifestation of mantle weather; a general pattern and rate of mantle convection would be like mantle climate.)

    Proving that C02 is a greenhouse gas and that man produces alot of it, falls far short of proving the climate models can be predictive.

    Good thing scientists have looked into the matter beyond those two items.

    We are being asked to fund a multi-trillion dollar, civilization-changing, socio-political experiment without seeing evidence of predictability.

    No, you/we are not. The view we have is through a frosted glass window – we can’t know everything. But there are things that we do know, and we can act according to that. How much sense does it make to bet on an unlikely event, just because the more likely event is not 99.99 % certain? If you bet on the expected you’ll win more often. The bookie we’ve got is not going to reward the extra risk with greater payback. And with the good reason for expectations as they are, burden of proof should fall more heavily on the unexpected. (Note that short-term unpredictability is actually expected.) Farthermore, the uncertainties remaining in the consequences of an emissions-intensive path is itself cause for concern and a farther justification for increased mitigation – it is easier to adapt if we can plan for what we’re supposed to adapt to.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Jun 2010 @ 11:42 PM

  57. Dear Roger Jnr,

    You do not seem to understand why some (I am certainly not alone in that regard) have issues with your blog or your commentary on climate science. You are oftentimes ambiguous, and have made defamatory accusations against at least one three of the scientists who hosts this blog. I certainly do not recall you being as outraged/upset or outspoken about Inhofe as you are about this. IMO, your limited critique of Inhofe’s list of 17 is in stark contrast with your comments to date on the PNAS paper. For example, I do not consider you saying “So I think that it is just a bit of clown-like bluffing, serving up red meat for the partisans, but little else” to be a damning critique of Inhofe’s persecution of climate scientists.

    I do stand corrected on your stance on Cuccinelli. I retract that accusation and apologise.

    You could ignore Beck and Limbaugh, but it would not hurt to openly condemn their actions in a show of support for your colleagues. Silence can be understandably perceived by some as a quiet show of support. I’m interested to see you (hopefully) taking Morano to task for his vitriol and campaign of distortion and misinformation.

    I, of course, have no problem with the IPCC reports being as accurate and complete as is possible for such mammoth documents. I do have an issue with critique that is for the most part not constructive– and that is what I tend to associate your blog and pubic opines (such as on the BBC) with. To me at least, your critique leaves the distinct impression that you are of the opinion that the IPCC can do no right, with frequent focus on their shortcomings rathe than their strengths. If you think the IPCC has so many issues, then why do refuse to participate in this important process, contribute constructively and help improve it? I have a hypothesis there, but I’ll leave it at that.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:06 AM

  58. From] 2: [Response: Lindzen is often wrong, but he isn't an idiot. - gavin]

    Yesss he is something else all right, I stand to be impressed by some accurate prediction he has made, his predictions have been always wrong (as far as I read), especially about the “cooling” we are suppose to bask in right now.
    He has a met chair without the power to make accurate predictions, MIT must be a special school…

    [Response: Whatever one may think of Lindzen he earned his position at MIT based on his brilliant (earlier) work. Please do not cast this sort of spurious aspersion on people.--eric]

    Comment by wayne davidson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:09 AM

  59. I’ll take a moment to answer Mr. Barkley’s point in #48:

    ” We are being asked to fund a multi-trillion dollar, civilization-changing, socio-political experiment without seeing evidence of predictability.”

    Actually, Mr. Barkley, we’re making a multi-trillion dollar, civilization-changing social-political experiment already: the release of CO2 is changing the climate in ways that are likely going to cost us trillions of dollars. In other words, we’re ALREADY making the change that will cost us lots of money. The choice before us is not either:

    a. do nothing and pay nothing
    or
    b. pay trillions to reduce CO2 emissions

    The choice is really this:

    a. do nothing and pay huge future costs.
    b. pay now to reduce future costs.

    I see it as a simple cost-benefit tradeoff. The information I read suggests that we can get ROIs of maybe 10% to 30% on measures to cut CO2 emissions in half by 2050.

    Comment by Chris Crawford — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:23 AM

  60. I would suggest to all contrarians to please explain Arctic sea ice demise, as it currently melts, as anything other than a validation of their opponents predictions. Sea ice is integrated weather, climate , in its purest form. What heat source other than AGW greenhouse gases are causing these greater melts ? …. I eagerly await an answer, which will never come, like a correct contrarian prediction..

    Comment by wayne davidson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:27 AM

  61. In my opinion, the impact of the PNAS paper is much like that of the hunter who accidently shot himself in the foot.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    Comment by Oliver K. Manuel — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:29 AM

  62. 58 , “Whatever one may think of Lindzen he earned his position at MIT based on his brilliant (earlier) work. Please do not cast this sort of spurious aspersion on people.–eric”

    Eric, brilliant earlier work is irrelevant when present Lindzen prognostications are wrong. Is this the way of modern schools ? One makes a brilliant something, then it gives him or her the right to say anything? I am curious, this is after all what we are dealing with, a few well placed contrarians, literally getting 50% of the press or more about AGW. What else are we suppose to do with them? Send them flowers ? Ask them pretty please to stop?

    I am formal about the view that anyone with or without credentials has standing in climate science, when they are …… Right…… Let them fail or thrive on correct predictions. Let forums such as these expose the failures and teach the success stories…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 2:12 AM

  63. #40 (Average Person)

    Q: Is there reasonable certainty that global climate change is occurring?
    A: Data in deep-sea cores demonstrates climate is capable of dramatic change, and it does not require human interference for that to occur. Instrumental record of last hundred years shows climate changes on many time scales.

    I think that what you mean to say is “yes”, but I’m not sure. I see no need to discuss whether a phenomenon is manmade or not if we can not first agree whether the phenomenon in question even exists. That’s why I put this question first. (Someone who answers “no” really doesn’t need to answer the rest of the questions.) It may be that the wording needs some help, though. I’m trying to ask if there is a consistent long-term trend in the climate data.

    Comment by Peter — 25 Jun 2010 @ 2:31 AM

  64. I was asked a few direct questions, so I will gladly follow-up my comment. I honestly thank you for including it in the blog. Eric: I was talking about the Scientific Method, so I cannot understand how an argument that predictability should trump consensus is nonsensical? If you are proposing we leave predictability out of the Scientific Method, please notify the public school system as soon as possible. :-). If my argument is nonsensical because predictability in complex systems is too difficult to factor into a computer simulation, then I suggest admitting the fallibility of Chaos Theory, and it’s role or nonroll in Global Climate Science, to those funding the research.

    Asbestos is a perfect example of my point. The first documented deaths due to asbestos exposure were in the early 1900′s. Asbestiosis was first declared a debilitating illness in both the US and the UK in the mid-20′s. It was designated as an excusable and serious work-related illness in the UK, US and across Europe before World War 2. The information wasn’t exactly “hidden by the asbestos industry” to those workers was it? We have very long term, hard evidence of why asbestos has a high-probability of causing cancer. That is why i don’t “breath deeply”.

    To those of you who deny you are asking the common man to fund a multi-trillion dollar experiment (may I call you “deniers?”):

    “The Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Treasury says (regarding current proposed Cap and Trade Legislation) that the total in new taxes would be between $100 billion to $200 billion a year. At the upper end of the administration’s estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year.”

    -CBS News

    “The authors have found that the constraints posed by the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade approach is equivalent to a constant (in percentage terms) consumption decrease of about 1% each year, continuing to 2050. Put another way, the cap-and-trade approach is the equivalent of a permanent tax increase for the average American household which would rise from $1,437 by 2015, to $1,979 in 2030, and $2,979 in 2050.”

    -from US News and World Report, March 2010

    You are most certainly asking me to fund the experiment: to the tune of $1700 per year from me personally (according the Obama Administrations own research).

    Dhogaza: When you ask why we won’t be honest and admit we just “don’t care” and won’t change our political positions “even though the science is really true”, I wonder why you won’t admit that this climate legislation is at best an uncertain and expensive shot-in-the-dark. I’ve never met any sensible, informed “skeptic” who believed the Earth hasn’t been warming, that humans don’t produce alot of C02, that C02 is not a GHG, or that man should simply ignore the environment and “do nothing” to improve it. Associating those types of facts with most “skeptics” is dishonest, political propaganda. I whole-heartedly support clean water/fresh air legislative efforts, reducing dependence on oil through funding of promising energy technologies, and reinstatement of the use of nitrogen-rich miracle fertilizer experimentation in the famine-stricken regions of Africa – that have, ironically, been attacked as potential global warming threats.

    According to my rough calculations, going by the Obama Administrations more conservative estimates, $1761/yr X (2050 – 2011) = $ 68,679.00 from my family personally. My 70 grand wants climate scientists to follow the Scientific Method and deliver SOME level of predictability. Forget climate versus weather. Narrow the focus. Let’s find which pieces of this puzzle have real validity. With that sum of money on the line, each one of us deserves proof.

    [Response: I'm not at all convinced that any of the policy options on the table in Washington make sense, economically or otherwise. But that's a totally separate question from the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Don't confuse them. If you don't like the policy, fine, but don't argue against it on the grounds that the science is wrong, because that's a non-starter. You can make arguments on economic grounds, but then you shouldn't be arguing with us at RealClimate, since we're by no means economics experts. Go argue with Nicholas Stern.--eric]

    Comment by Edward A. Barkley — 25 Jun 2010 @ 4:11 AM

  65. “I see it as a simple cost-benefit tradeoff. The information I read suggests that we can get ROIs of maybe 10% to 30% on measures to cut CO2 emissions in half by 2050.”

    OK let’s do that first.

    Then by allowing more people to increase their standard of living through natural growth , we could choose to multiply again by a factor two the GDP and the CO2 consumption; with the same energy intensity. The net gain would be 2*(1+0.1 to 0.3) – A

    (this doesn’t need to be done AFTER the gain in efficiency of course, but it can be done without inconvenience DURING the improvement period, just by growing a few % more per year).

    where A is the (relative) climate cost of passing again from one half CO2 to the full CO2 production (retrieving the initial value).

    so net gain of the overall operation = 2.6 to 2.8 – A.

    it is > 1 if A < 1.6 to 1.8 , i.e. if the cost of passing from one half to the full CO2 production is less than 160 % to 180 % of the initial GDP.

    What is "the full" CO2 production? well I don't know exactly which is your baseline, but I don't expect we can reach more than 500 ppm before 2050. So reducing by one half would lead to 450 instead of 500 ppm; say.

    So finally the question is : is the cost A of passing from 450 to 500 ppm larger than 160 % to 180 % of initial GDP ?

    does an increase from 450 to 500 ppm cost more than that, and why exactly ?

    if nobody can insure it is the case, I think that all policymakers will invariably do the same choice – use the gain in efficiency to increase more GDP, not to reduce CO2 – just through simple cost-benefit trade-off.

    Comment by Gilles — 25 Jun 2010 @ 4:14 AM

  66. Roger, your hypotheses are not hypotheses in the scientific sense. A scientific hypothesis is a proposition that can be demonstrated or falsified with fairly straightforward evidence or experimentation. “CO2 is a greenhouse gas,” is an example. Your statements are really a combination of observations and attribution. It is an empirical fact that we are seeing warming outside of normal “natural” variability. That this would occur was a prediction of climate theory dating back 114 years, so the warming supports the consensus model of climate.

    I think the biggest problem I have with your approach–aside from your attacks on scientists–is your narrow focus on the issue of anthropogenic causation of the current warming. I think the focus should be on understanding climate–and unfortunately you can’t do that without a theory that predicts substantial warming due to anthropogenic CO2.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jun 2010 @ 4:17 AM

  67. AP 40: whether human emissions have a significant effect is entirely unknown

    BPL: To you. To the scientific community, the effect has been known for almost 200 years. Why don’t you pick up an introductory textbook on climatology, radiative transfer, or atmosphere physics, and actually read it? Better yet, work the problems.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 4:55 AM

  68. Edward Barkley,
    OK, let me get this straight. You state right up front that you don’t have a clue how science is done beyond what you learned in undergrad chemistry. You then demonstrate your ignorance by discounting the importance of scientific consensus and presenting a cartoon charicature of climate science and science in particular. And then you expect us to take your advice seriously?

    Climate science has a very impressive record of successful predictions.
    http://www.bartonpaullevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    Ed, I only hope your health improves so that you can leave that bubble you’ve been living in. Ever hear of Peak Oil? Google it. Business as usual is not an option. Even independent of its implications for Earth’s climate, the energy infrastructure of human civilization must change. The easy petroleum is all gone–and as we can see looking out onto the Gulf, we’re having to go to extremes and take extreme risks to suck more of it out of the ground. Coal is at present plentiful, but will take us through at most another century. So the question is not whether we will spend trillions creating a new energy infrastructure. That is inevitable. The question is whether that new infrastructure will be sustainable or whether we’ll wreck our environment and then have to do it all over again in a century.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jun 2010 @ 4:57 AM

  69. EAB 48,

    Where did you get the idea that GCMs had no predictive ability? It’s stunningly wrong.

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/ModelsReliable.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 4:59 AM

  70. It would appear that the contention of #40 is to prove that the Average Person is an ignoramus.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:00 AM

  71. Eli 53,

    What a wonderful post. Really makes a good point. Thanks.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:38 AM

  72. Genuinely confused here between science and policy.

    You say: “So, do the climate scientists who have publicly declared that they are ‘convinced of the evidence’ that emission policies are required have more credentials and expertise than the signers of statements declaring the opposite? Yes.”

    If I take the liberty of moving your apostrophe so it reads ‘convinced of the evidence that emission policies are required’, which I think is your sense, then it dangerously elides having ‘cred and exp’ in climate science with having ‘cred and ex’ in opining, even advising, on policy response.

    I can accept that climate scientists have ‘more credentials and expertise’ in climate science. I cannot accept that they have that in opining on emission policies.

    Emission policies get caught up in a whole new world of choice and impact. In the UK we have poured money into wind and now solar in an explicit attempt to get down our energy-generating CO2 emissions. The effects of that policy on our CO2, our GDP, how much CO2 emitting we are simply exporting, and the impact on global climate change, versus any number of counterfactuals, is simply not an area for climate scientists.

    Yes, I did read your next sentence, ‘That doesn’t demonstrate who’s (whose) policy prscription is correct of course….’, but even so this constant crossing of the line between science and policy, and the strong implication, even statement, that we must listen to climate scientists on policy, is just wrong.

    [Response: You are making a fair point, but it you're missing a critical contextual fact. Many of the prominent (and not so prominent) 'skeptics' are advocating policy choices on the grounds that the mainstream scientific view of the physical science is wrong. (I do not believe that medical researchers should dictate health policy, but I sure as heck would not want to have anyone (whether they are a 'policy expert' or not) dictating health policy predicated on the grounds that HIV does not cause AIDS.) Furthermore you overstate your case when you say that "I cannot accept that [climate scientists] have [credentials] in opining on emission policies.” First off, they certainly do have the most expertise when it comes to “what is the likely impact of a given emission policy on CO2 concentrations and global mean temperature”? Indeed, they are by definition the only group with that expertise. Second, many climate scientists actually have also studied the policy end, professionally. You are assuming that among the experts in science, there are no experts in policy. But I suspect you are wrong. Indeed, I suspect that that if one were to take the same group of people studied by Anderegg et a., but evaluate them in terms of their credentials in the policy realm, there would still be a lopsided finding.–eric]

    Comment by HotRod — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:44 AM

  73. WD 58,

    Lindzen is not incompetent by any means. He’s extremely bright. He’s just a shameless liar.

    In his peer-reviewed papers, he has to stick as close to the facts as he can. But in his public speeches he says things he knows damn well are false–global warming stopped in 1998; Mars is warming too and there are no SUVs there; it’s the sun, stupid!

    Doesn’t mean he’s an evil man at heart. I have no way to know. But he apparently does think it’s okay to lie in a good cause. He and I both disagree with Kant that’s it’s never right to lie, even to a murderer asking where his intended victim is. But I draw the line bounding times when it’s okay to lie much more narrowly than he does. I think most people do.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:52 AM

  74. A visit from Oliver Manuel! Cool!

    Dr. Manuel, I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I am by your thesis that the sun is made out of iron. Idiot that I am, I always swallowed the science Kool-Aid that said it was hydrogen, helium and a small admixture of metals in a hot plasma. And the idea that the core of our sun is a supernova remnant–brilliant! Who would have guessed that the sun used to be 4-40 times its present mass, lived an entire life as a main sequence blue giant, and finally wound up exploding–and then inexplicably posing as a main sequence type G2 star! THAT is original!

    Please comment here a lot more, and anywhere else on the web you can. I want people to become more familiar with your views!

    [Response: I appreciate that you want a little fun here, but all discussions of crank theories of solar processes are OT. - gavin]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:56 AM

  75. Gavin,
    Unless I’ve missed something, you have misprepresented the mendacious piece Lindzen apparently signed. It doesn’t adress attribution directly but compares the satellite record with “natural” variations in the last 10’000 years. There’s no 120m there. If Lindzen is indeed proposing this comparison as a reasonable attribution test, I believe he would be discounting a lot of good science. But it wouldn’t be nearly as nuts as you claim.
    The word “natural” is very ambiguous out of context. It only breeds fuzzy thinking and confusion.

    [Response: The text reads: "Recent observations ... are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability." - this implies that nothing 'abnormal' (i.e. anthropogenic) can be assessed unless we surpass the bounds of 'natural variability'. This is simply bogus, as the recent piece on attribution hopefully explains. - gavin]

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:57 AM

  76. Re #28 Pete Best

    the BBC is forever (when it does discuss it) putting forward both arguments constantly in some kind of liberal act of a balanced view point

    It has often appeared rather worse than that. There is lots that could be said but it is slightly OT

    [I don't include the BBC World Service which may be better and the BBC web site which is a bit different and may be more balanced]

    Take yesterday morning on Radio 4 ,about the Antarctic:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/iot/

    This is one of the best series put out by Radio 4 and the programme was good. But did you notice that the topic of CO2 variation was not mentioned? This is part of a pattern of avoidance.

    Then there was the TV series by Brian Cox whose wife has said that she does not agree with the CO2 theory. It could have covered the topic of AGW but didn’t. It highlighted the role of water vapour in the greenhouse effect. That was before we had a coalition government in the UK. A fair compromise! Half way to Tyndall 1855!

    Then there was the “Climate Wars”. A compromise between weather and climate. How the presenter remembered how hot it was one year (shots of playing on the beach). And the so called ice age forecasts of the 1970′s.

    Much of the time the BBC removes the science and presents the subject as a set of opinions by rival priesthoods.

    I might welcome a balanced approach; it depends if it is done scientifically and by experts and without any of the usual misinformation.
    One example would be to balance the arguments that the world is warming with the opposite. Ditto with the rise and attribution of the rise in CO2 etc etc.

    But we don’t get that sort of balance. We get almost complete censorship of anything analytical. And now the BBC seems scared of touching the subject.

    Incidentally how about the balance of reporting of the Email hack at the CRU? Huge excited coverage last November, interviews with Morano, Inhofe et al. Then the first reports of the inquiries started to come in. Almost no coverage! A mention at lunch time but not in the evening, no details.

    What do we know for sure? That Channel 4 (a related UK Public Service broadcaster but relying on adverts) is denialist. The seniors spoke as if they really believed in the Swindle. Their idea of balance is to invite George Monbiot to discuss renewables. We don’t know what the seniors at the BBC think because they keep quiet.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 25 Jun 2010 @ 6:24 AM

  77. #60 Mr. Davidson

    I recommend this book from 1943 an especially page 470 onward.

    http://tinyurl.com/3yzz9ut

    [edit ]

    Regards

    Comment by Ibrahim — 25 Jun 2010 @ 7:40 AM

  78. What gets me is how the denialists argue both sides. They say there isn’t scientific consensus on AGW but dispute…

    …then they play the Galileo card and say consensus on AGW means it must be a hoax….

    I’d sure like to have my cake and eat it too.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 25 Jun 2010 @ 8:02 AM

  79. I highly respect the Team at RC and the scientists that post here but I am concerned that the tone is too muted regarding the dangerous path we are certainly on regarding the impact of climate change. I understand that a “good scientist” should be conservative and emphasize the uncertainties while trying to solve the riddles of climate change. I also understand that science is supposed to inform policy and not create policy but I agree with Dr. Hansen that we need to cross that line now before we look back and claim that scientists let us down by not shouting from the hilltops. What we say in private about the impacts needs to become more public.

    There is strong evidence that doubling CO2 to 560 ppm will result in a 3C warmer climate. Given population increases and rapid industrialization of China, India, and the developing world, it appears that 560 ppm will be reached around 2050, if not earlier. As I research the impacts of climate change, it is obvious to me that 3C is a nightmarish situation and I fear that number will not be the high point as we move toward 2100.

    What I do not understand is the people who post here and on their own blogs who claim to agree with the consensus and yet, instead of warning the public about the coming dangers, choose to vilify the IPCC, RC, and others. This behavior is essentially causing the public to be confused at a time when they need to take action.

    If you truly believe that 560 ppm is inevitable, you should stop wasting everybody’s time with crying foul over whose name appears on a list that has been public for years. Get off your high horses and start warning the public. To those that are not crying foul, please consider being a climate Paul Revere. “Climate change is coming, climate change is coming!”

    P.S. Climate models are very good all things considered.

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 25 Jun 2010 @ 8:53 AM

  80. @33 eric:

    “that doesn’t mean that he is wrong”

    Eric, not to be a nag, but do you think you might address comment #7? There is no list of names in the paper, the SI, or the webpage linked in the SI. The data used in the paper were generated from publicly signed statements. Roger has repeatedly* claimed that there exists a list of names in the PNAS paper that constitutes a “black list”. This *is* wrong, and it’s something he knows is not true. I’m curious to hear if you actually read the paper, and if so where *you* read a list of names that prompted you to agree with Roger about this preposterous “black list”.

    Thanks.

    *From his blog comments, well after it was pointed out that no such list existed in the paper:
    “By contrast the purpose of the PNAS list is to delegitmize a certain group simply by virtue of being on the list”

    “The problem with the PNAS black list”

    “And I would bet that many on the PNAS black list would also”

    [Response: In the supplementary information from the paper (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107/suppl/DCSupplemental) there is this link: http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/list_sources.html At the bottom of that page, you click on "back to the main page" and you get here: http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/index.html

    One thing I wish to emphasize about this list is that I find it offensive not only because it lists 'skeptics', but also because it lists 'activitists'. In short, I'm a commie because Anderegg et al. did a study, published in a leading journal, and said I am. --eric ]

    [I should add that I'm exaggerating here to make a point. Of course, Anderegg et al. didn't call me anything. But I am listed as 'activist' on the web site. I reject any such labels.--eric]

    Comment by thingsbreak — 25 Jun 2010 @ 8:56 AM

  81. Complained to the BBC for its coverage if Anderegg et al. by Pallab Ghosh and his editor(s). Headline? “Climate credibility under review”. Perleeze.

    Comment by melty — 25 Jun 2010 @ 9:09 AM

  82. Mr. Prall needs to work a little harder on his list. For example it calls WIll Happer, number 6 on the list of evildoers and a very well known climate ‘skeptic’, a particle physicist. Will is an atomic/molecular physicist and in the National Academy for his work. And claiming molecular physics is not related to climate science is, well, odd.

    All in all, this paper, published under the rubric of ‘social science’ by a biologist, an engineer, a climate scientist and an MBA, is a pretty sad showing — not so much for the authors, but for PNAS, who are now publishing political rhetoric from unqualified amateurs as ‘social science’.

    Comment by Gerard Harbison — 25 Jun 2010 @ 9:11 AM

  83. Another thing I’ve noticed is how the denialists (consciously or unconsciously) think that policy determines the science. You get that in their arguments a lot. They’ll say “AGW is a hoax,” then next sentence, “the AGW-hoaxers are planning to impose a totalitarian dictatorship upon us.”

    They follow a policy-driven bogus science (or how many ways can a ostrich stick its head in the sand), when we should be following science-driven policies.

    First face the reality, then come up with solutions that will be as painless as possible — maybe even fun and profitable solutions. Or, be not afraid to face the science. The real alarmists and fear-mongers are the denialists.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 25 Jun 2010 @ 9:19 AM

  84. “At the bottom of that page, you click on “back to the main page” and…”

    Eric,

    I’m glad that we both agree that the Anderegg et al. paper does not in fact have any sort of list of names in it or the SI, much less a “black list”. Do you think you might want to revisit your statements that implied as much over at Dot Earth and Roger’s blog?

    If you disagree with the labels and methodology used to produce the Anderegg paper or the material that the paper drew upon, I think everyone’s open to discussing ways to do it differently. But to claim that this paper somehow put you on some sort of list *when it has no list* appears to be no more truthful than the “PNAS black list” lie that Roger is desperately shopping around. This statement “I’m a commie because Anderegg [sic] et al. … said I am” looks equally unjustifiable given the available evidence.

    Of course, it’s possible that I have misread the paper and supplementary material. I am always happy to admit an error. :)

    Thanks for the discussion.

    [Response: I'm sorry, but I think trying to separate the paper from the list on the web is disingenuous. I would like to see Anderegg and coauthors publicly disavow that list.--eric]

    Comment by thingsbreak — 25 Jun 2010 @ 9:39 AM

  85. Len Ornstein wrote: ” … the predictions of the Club of Rome’s 1972, ‘The Limits to Growth’, that also have proven to have been somewhat premature.”

    Since that was copied-and-pasted from the apparently boilerplate comment you posted recently on another thread, I will respond with the same thing I said there.

    The Club of Rome’s Limits To Growth and the sequel Beyond The Limits did not make “predictions”. They set forth a range of possible scenarios, which is an entirely different thing.

    Have you ever actually read either book?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Jun 2010 @ 10:00 AM

  86. @ eric

    “I’m sorry, but I think trying to separate the paper from the list on the web is disingenuous.”

    I can understand that point of view. My own is utilitarian. Of the people who read the paper, the number who will read the SI will be a small fraction. Of those, the ones that click through to the linked web page will be smaller still. Of those, the ones who navigate back to the main page will be smaller still, etc.

    The idea that- unprovoked by rampant accusations of McCarthyism and Stasi-like tactics- funding agencies were going to drill through several layers of material distant from the paper proper, seize upon the breakdown of lists, and use them to create a “black list” seems quite absurd to me, especially given that were they so inclined, it would be far simpler and less time consuming for them to draw from the same source material that Jim Prall used in the first place.

    The disingenuousness appears from my perspective to stem from the conflation of the website with the paper, and the idea that the website itself represented the first public creation of a list rather than a cataloging of publicly available material and statements.

    Comment by thingsbreak — 25 Jun 2010 @ 10:00 AM

  87. Eric, you should be wearing “activist” as a bad of courage. Just doing the science is not good enough anymore with the stakes so high. The world needs more scientist-activists because the message is not getting out with just “science”.

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 25 Jun 2010 @ 10:03 AM

  88. Gilles in #64 looks more closely at the cost-benefit tradeoff, but makes an assumption that undermines his calculation: that “ROI” refers to “net return on investment” instead of “annual return on investment”. I should have made it clear that I was referring to annual return on investment, but in fact the annual ROI is far and away the more common usage. After all, a net ROI of 50% over 100 years is lousy, while the same net ROI over one year is fabulous. That’s why it’s more useful to think in terms of annual ROI, which is what I was doing.

    There’s no question that the costs imposed by continuing climate change will be enormous. To take a simple example, the city of Miami lies at an average elevation of only about 2 meters above sea level. Should sea level rise by 1 meter, a value considered likely within this century, then much of the city will become uninhabitable. The net value of the infrastructure of Miami — buildings, roads, utility structures, and so forth — is several trillion dollars, IIRC. Somewhat smaller costs would arise for most port cities around the world (most are at average elevations higher than Miami’s). Add up all those costs and we’re talking hundreds of trillions of dollars just for dealing with sea level rise. This doesn’t include costs arising from changes in precipitation patterns, effects on agriculture, and so forth.

    Now we turn to the costs of CO2 reduction. It is often claimed, without any justification whatsoever, that carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes will cost trillions of dollars. However, the economic analyses that have been carried out yield far lower results, generally in the tens to hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Even generously discounting these values, we still end up with net annual economic benefits of perhaps 10% to 30% of the investment we make in reducing CO2 emissions.

    These numbers are, of course, fraught with uncertainty. They are based on calculations that make manifold assumptions, any one of which, if far off the mark, could dramatically alter the results. Nevertheless, the notion of making large financial decisions in an uncertain context is in no wise exotic — it’s what business executives do every day. When an executive decides to invest billions in a mine in some Third World country, he’s making huge assumptions about the political stability of that country — guess that cannot possibly be justified with any hard numbers. When an oil company decides to invest billions in drilling a deep-sea well, they’re making huge assumptions about the likelihood of actually striking oil — guesses rife with uncertainty. When a Hollywood studio decide to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a major movie, they have no way of knowing with any certainty whether it will succeed or fail.

    In all of these cases, business people rely on much less than a straightforward calculation. They play a hunch. They put together everything they know and make a decision that they could never justify in strict logical terms. That’s how business is done. Businessmen who heed the recommendations of denialists would quickly go out of business; there are no sure things in the real world.

    I suggest that we make our political decision on this question using the same methodology used by successful businesspeople: assemble a group of the most experienced people in the relevant fields, give them resources to collect and analyze the available information, let them discuss and debate the problem, and then heed their advice. We have already done this a number of times: with the National Academy of Science, the IPCC, the Stern Report, and many other cases. They all come back with the same advice: we need to reduce CO2 emissions.

    So why are we behaving like loser businesspeople instead of winner businesspeople?

    Comment by Chris Crawford — 25 Jun 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  89. Given current interest rates, the ROI on any basis is a lot higher. (And if you object that the rates are uncannily low these days go look at the Japanese rates for the last twenty years.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 25 Jun 2010 @ 10:36 AM

  90. If realclimate coudld link to luke wamer blogs, it might reduce the criticism of advocatcy..

    ‘climate Sicence for climate scientists’

    as they link to desmog blog and geaorge monbiot,
    but not climate audit, pielke’s or say lucia’s blackboard..
    george monbiot is not a scientist, he is a journalist!

    So it does look like advocacy to a new observer
    If they cuold bring themselve to do this it would be a gesture of goodwill..

    Having a link to ‘how to talk to Global Warming Sceptic’ vetted and endorsed by professionals at RealClimate, reflects, to an observer badly on RealClimate..

    So, constructive advice, drop the links to the more ‘flag waving’ type advocacy sites, include some ‘respected’ alternative views, it would help Realclimate stop being ‘perceived’ as an advocacy site rather than a science site…

    [Response: Being listed on our blogroll does not constitute endorsement. In general, the sites we do list -- whether they are run by scientists or not -- tend to get the science right much of the time, and hence are consistent with our mission. Being not-listed could mean that a) we haven't heard of the site, b) that it is uninteresting or unimportant, or c) that we consider it dishonest or disingenuous with respect to the science. Pielke Jr, Blackboard, and ClimateAudit all fall squarely into the latter category.--eric]

    Comment by Barry Woods — 25 Jun 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  91. RE #76. The Great Global Warmign Swindle was part of a series of three programmes started by George Monbiot which painted a picture of our lack of energy efficiency.

    I was more thinking Radio 5 live myself which when it does discuss it its not funny and not very good. Radio 4, hmmmmm who knows on that one and some of the climate programs have been OK.

    Comment by pete best — 25 Jun 2010 @ 10:59 AM

  92. The study’s conclusions have a logic problem. As summarized by Slate:

    “If skeptics are being shut out of journals, their publication counts would go down, which would produce precisely the results shown in the PNAS paper.”

    [Response: There is, however, no evidence that 'skeptics' are being shut out of journals. There is indeed much evidence to the contrary. This is a canard.

    What Slate actually says is that "The authors make no attempt to tease out the extent to which prejudice, rather than a disparity in expertise, can explain why so few skeptics rank among the top climate authors." That appears to be true, but Slate overstates its importance. A better point they make is the following (but do take note of the sentence in bold).

    "The analysis of papers from diverse fields seems to have distorted the results. Take the case of Freeman Dyson, who ranks high on the list of climate skeptics. .... His top paper, on particle physics, had 749 citations when the authors checked. That's quite a few, but not as many as were received by several dozen climate scientists for their top papers. Dyson is by all indications badly wrong when it comes to climate change. But few scientists in any field would agree that his top work is less impressive than that of 40 climate researchers, most of whom are far more obscure. .... A proper analysis would make sure that these sorts of things hadn't skewed the data."

    --eric]

    Comment by J — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  93. “If skeptics are being shut out of journals, their publication counts would go down, which would produce precisely the results shown in the PNAS paper.”

    If this were true, over the last several years we would’ve been treated to a steady stream of skeptics publicizing their papers that have been turned down by peer-reviewed journals, and we could verify that they weren’t turned down for being crap but rather for not being “politically correct”.

    Right?

    And, yet … what do we have? Spencer has recently made a big deal of his latest opus not getting published by his first venue of choice, only his second, with all sorts of dark hints about bias, but the reality is a high percentage of papers have to search for a home, nothing unusual about this at all. Likewise RP(sr?) making a big deal out of being denied an NSF grant, dismissed by a form letter that states his proposal made it out of the review stage but didn’t pass the final cut based on funding priorities. Bias! he screams. But the majority of grant requests to the NSF don’t get funded, regardless of merit.

    So what we have are a handful of whining complaints about bias which really don’t stand scrutiny, and certainly aren’t in numbers to account for the fact that mainstream workers are publishing hundreds or thousands more papers than the poor, downtrodden skeptics who, for the most part, don’t even bother writing papers for submission.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:27 AM

  94. But it was cold this winter and C02 is plant food and only a trace gas and the greenhouse effect has been disproved anyway and even if the greenhouse effect does exist, C02 has negligible impact compared to water vapour and our only source of heat is the sun so it must be the sun, unless it is due to the C02 from volcanoes, but C02 follows warming so it can’t be the C02 and the medieval warm period was warmer anyway and all the temperature reconstructions that show this not to be true are produced by corrupt scientists being paid by corrupt governments that have colluded to create an excuse to form a one world unelected social-ist government and even if the scientists are not that corrupt, although the e-mails prove they are, they have still got it wrong as the climate sensitivity is not as high as they think it is because it is basically the planets orbits and cosmic rays so we can say for a fact that the warming that probably does not exist is definatley not due to humans and even if it was the evidence is not sufficient to make drastic changes to the economy and increase taxes so that the politicians and scientists and business leaders get rich and leave us all poor – do they think we are stupid or something?

    [Response: Based on this comment, yes.--eric]

    Comment by Grunt — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:30 AM

  95. #89 Chris, I think that I understand your point, but I hope you’ll understand mine.

    When you say “reduce CO2 emission”, you mean (as everybody I guess) : for a given amount of services (measured by GDP, or another index if you dislike it).

    Cause it is of course obvious to reduce CO2 emissions if everybody accepts being poorer – say going back to the XIXth century or live like indian people. So the challenge is to reduce CO2 emission without loosing our quality of life.

    My point is : ok, but once you have done that, what prevents using the spared FF to increase the wealth of much poorer people ? For instance even with Peak oil, we may be able to produce 50 Mbl/d of oil in 2050 ,say. Assume you have done a great effort for conservation, allowing to burn only 25 Mbl/d for the same standard of living. Right. My point is : are you sure that they aren’t very poor people in the world that would be very happy to use the spared 25 Mbl/d ???

    after all, there will be still plenty of oil fields, equipped with rigs , extracting these 25 Mbl/d – but very capable of extracting twice as much ! guys , the oil is just there in the ground, you just have to open the tap and find customers … do you REALLY think that nobody will be interested by these cheap extra 25 Mbl/d ??? and how will you insure that (and incidentally how will you justify morally to prevent poor people to access them ?)

    Concerning sea level rise, I would just point out that even hundreds of trillions of dollars is a very small fraction of the global GDP integrated over the whole century, and that if you believe the work of Rahmstorf et al., the sea level rise would hardly change if we divide by two the CO2 emissions, so the problem will happen anyway. I already raised the point : either the time constant is very short and the sea level rise will be kept in reasonable values (< 50 cm), or it is much longer and it will be quite insensitive to what we are doing just now – it will keep rising anyway and reach one meter or more.

    Comment by Gilles — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  96. “The notion of making large financial decisions in an uncertain context is in no wise exotic — it’s what business executives do every day.”

    I have never heard the Libertarians, whom I watch on Russia Today (RT), make the argument that we should have let the free market forces take care of the Hitler problem.

    Comment by Snapple — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:34 AM

  97. J and Slate say: “If skeptics are being shut out of journals, their publication counts would go down, which would produce precisely the results shown in the PNAS paper.”

    This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works. If the approaches taken by the so-called skeptics were really more fruitful for understanding Earth’s climate, they could not be shut out. Their success would speak for itself and any climate scientist who wanted to succeed would have to adopt those methods. Instead, quite the opposite effect is seen. The few “skeptical” publications really add little or no insight and generally lead nowhere. The problem is that for a scientist, it simply is not sufficient to say, “We don’t know anything! It’s too complex!!” You have to find a way forward. The consensus model of Earth’s climate is such a way. It has the unfortunate implication that we are cooking our own goose, but I am not aware of any natural law that says the world should conform to our wishes.

    [Response: Highlighted by me to reward conciseness and clarity.--eric]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:39 AM


  98. “If skeptics are being shut out of journals, their publication counts would go down, which would produce precisely the results shown in the PNAS paper.”

    If the skeptics are actually being shut out of journals, then they could provide evidence of such by producing the papers that they submitted and were then rejected, along with the reviewers’ comments.

    It’s rather hard to argue that one is being “shut out of journals” on the basis of papers that one has never submitted.

    Comment by caerbannog — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:39 AM

  99. Grant @96. Excellent summary :) Alas, all those canards are enough to confuse many, many lay people.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:40 AM

  100. “[Response: There is, however, no evidence that 'skeptics' are being shut out of journals.]”

    Eric seems to be in denial of the climategate emails.

    [Response: Don't be an idiot. The climategate emails, at worst, show that some people expressed frustration with some specific authors and editors, in private emails. There is no evidence that anyone actually tried to 'block' papers other than by expressing their strong views of the quality of the papers. Yet the papers in question still got published and cited. So even if there was some sort of nefarious intent (which I doubt) it wasn't successful anyway.--eric]

    Comment by PaulM — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  101. Barry Woods,
    Perhaps they should link to Astrology blogs and Velikovsky advocates and conspiracy theorists, too. After all, we want to be inclusive and make sure we don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

    Get real. If you challenge the peer-reviewed science in a non-peer-reviewed venue, you are doing anti-science, not science. Your inability to tell the difference tells us all we need to know.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:44 AM

  102. I guess I am surprised that RC is being so supportive of what appears to be a pretty poorly thought out paper.

    At its heart, what this paper says is that if you look at the cite lists of the AR4 WG1 Contributors they are longer than the cite lists of those signing a number of statements skeptical of CAGW. This conclusion is obvious but it doesn’t really mean much. Specifically:

    1) It is not surprising that the IPCC contributors have long cite lists. The whole point of the IPCC is to gather the best and brightest climate scientists to update policy makers.

    2) Climate scientists want to be contributors to the IPCC (and have their work cited by the IPCC) as it increases their prestige and professional advancement.

    3) On the other hand, signing a statement critical of the IPCC can be very harmful to a climate scientist. At a minimum, it reduces their chances of being picked to be a contributor in the future. It likley has a series of other negative impacts on a career.

    4) Just because someone is a contributor to the IPCC doesn’t mean they agree with everything in it or even the central points. It generally means that they are part of a process on a very small part of the IPCC and they may not even agree totally with the small part they are part of.

    5) As has already been pointed out, it is also possible to sign some of the statements in this paper and still support some part of the CAGW hypothesis.

    In short, this paper says almost nothing of value.

    Comment by Reasonable Observer — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:44 AM

  103. forgive me i have not read all of the comments here. but one thing i have been surprised at generally is the lack of official surveys done on the matter (i have seen all that is available). Anonymous surveys could have been carried out – to be completed by all IPCC contributors for example. OK so getting the wording right in a questionnaire is always difficult but surely it is worth having a go? Perhaps this can be done for the next IPCC report – contributing authors are required to fill out a questionnaire based on the reports final version, to establish their degree of agreement with the core findings. this can include a box for ‘do not feel qualified to comment’.
    this sounds too easy or am i being stupid or something?

    Comment by Grunt — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  104. want to demonstrate the consensus? in a funny, memorable way?

    skeptics have plenty of lists, and it’s time mainstream scientists get one of their own a la “project steve”: http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve

    ‘cept the one for AGW would be called

    ***PROJECT JIM***

    in honor of james hansen. the catch is you can only sign it if you’re PhD scientist named “jim”… it might read something like:

    *anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory is well-supported by numerous lines of evidence. [insert best lines of evidence]. there are uncertainties about some details, and discussion about consequences and policy, but there is no serious scientific debate about whether the earth is warming and the cause is human co2 emissions.”

    or something like that. you guys might be able to tweak “serious scientific debate”?

    Comment by Walter Crain — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  105. I made this same comment over at Skeptical Science, but I think it would be more telling if the change in the state of consensus were shown over time, say, about 100 years. Some people act as though the current consensus has been the tradition, when it appears to me that proponents of AGW were the outliers some decades ago, much as the anti-AGW, or no-problem, proponents are the outliers today. The amount of change of state, and the rate of change, would be more informative for those who can’t directly access the depths of the science. If you start talking about Stefan-Boltzmann or Planck’s to the average Joe, who the politicians listen to, and are for the most part, their eyes glaze over and you loose them.

    Comment by Chris G — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  106. climate science timeline:
    http://www.slrtx.com/blog/climate-science-timeline/

    Comment by Grunt — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:34 PM

  107. Are we harkening back to some kind of chivalric era of science – from a perhaps mythical past? Science these days is heavily beset by propaganda efforts aimed at distorting scientific results and analysis in the name of economic gain (rather short-term economic gain at that). It’s all been spelled out numerous times – the leaked 1998 American Petroleum Institute memo being a classic example:

    Upon this tableau, the Global Climate Science Communications Team (GCSCT) developed an action plan to inform the American public that science does not support the precipitous actions Kyoto would dictate.

    It’s worth listing the specific steps they suggested that relate to scientists, specifically their effort to develop a “white list” of approved scientists for media quotes – so, if a media PR organization develops a list of scientists who will repeat their talking points, and then someone else does a study that exposes this list, and people complain about “blacklisting scientists in a free society” – no, that doesn’t hold much water, does it?

    The American Petroleum Institute effort certainly involved the development of this “blacklist”, or as they would call it, a white list. From their 1998 memo:

    “…identify and recruit as many as 20 respected climate scientists to serve on the science advisory board.”

    “…cooperative relationships with all major scientists whose research in this field supports our position.”

    “…developing opportunities to maximize the impact of scientific views consistent with ours with Congress, the media and other key audiences.”

    Translation: They paid a bunch of low-quality scientific quacks to go on speaking tours for them. The tobacco industry employed their ilk for decades to cloud the cancer link to tobacco.

    Here’s a very good comment on the issue from Andy Revkin’s DotEarth blog:

    This paper largely makes a very simple point-if you have 100 scientists, 97 of them agree with the tenets of anthropogenic climate change and their research is well supported. Three do not and are poorly represented in the relevant literature. Thus, there is no “debate” about the main points of climate change. All kinds of papers get published that revolutionize fields or upend the current paradigm, but they’re based on solid science. The exceedingly competitive nature of scientific research and publishing ensures that there are incentives for well-researched game-changers to be published. However, from the climate skeptics we see a consistent pattern of disinformation funded by corporations with claims that do not hold up under scrutiny. What this paper shows is that the vast majority of scientists qualified to make assessments about the status of climate science believe in the core IPCC tenets, and those who do not are poorly qualified to do so.

    The only plausible objection to the PNAS paper, logically speaking, is that this entire issue falls under the “appeal to authority” fallacy. This requires a rethinking of what it is the ‘expert’ is really doing for the public – and the best kind of expert is the one who helps you understand how they came to their conclusions, not the one who delivers said conclusions from on high in the ivory tower, with no questions allowed. Any educated person should then be able to consider the arguments and come to their own conclusions, sans authoritarian guidance. Those arguments involve the radiative physics of planetary atmospheres, the effect of adding CO2, the complexities of the global oceanic and atmospheric circulation, and the chemistry of fuel combustion.

    I don’t see that exposing the scientists who’ve put their personal prestige or economic interests ahead of scientific accuracy is a problem in a free society, though. The PNAS paper doesn’t even do that, it just points out the general trend, so it’s actually very gentle criticism. Now, if the authors would just apply the same methodology to Stanford’s Exxon-financed “Global Climate and Energy Project” (GCEP) – who knows what they’d find?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:47 PM

  108. Eric can correct me if I’m wrong, but part of his beef is likely with the use of the term “activist”, which tends to have negative connotations (scientists being corrupted by politics or what not).

    This was the same phrasing used in a dubious textbook written by political hacks that distorted climate science, casting the “debate” between “activists” and “skeptics”.

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/uploads/attachments/CFI_Textbook_Critique.pdf

    http://pr.thinkprogress.org/2008/04/pr20080414

    Another problem is Eric is listed in the “activist” category, with the only justification being that he’s affiliated with this blog RealClimate, which is a pro-science blog, not an activist one. Since this blog doesn’t characterize itself as “activist”, and rarely/never discusses policy, the characterization seems unfair.

    Eric’s categorization seems to be the exception. Most others identified as “activists” have signed a public declaration indicating agreement with the usual consensus position, and sometimes indicating explicit support for emissions reductions. But again, “activist” is too strong a word and certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. It gives some the impression that they’re all out there actively doing what Hansen’s doing (which I’m not saying is wrong), or being wined and dined by Al Gore. Some phrase to the effect of “expclitly agrees with the consensus positions outlined…and indicated by signing a public declaration” would be better than this poor choice of a word.

    Comment by MarkB — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:56 PM

  109. The “blacklist meme” is (IMHO) a pure attempt to change the subject from the overwhelming agreement in the climate science community to, well, a pure and utterly unsubstantiated smear worthy of the tin hat brigade.

    I know it’s tempting to take a potshot at such a sitting duck, but let’s keep the focus where it belongs–on the piles of science that say that we are not on a good track today, and we should seriously attempt to change direction.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:57 PM

  110. A boycott list exists by Journalists, of which a great deal of them are pro-contrarian:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/Climate-change-sceptic-scientists-less-prominent-and-authoritative.html

    Regular cast of skeptics make ink, the vast majority of scientists successful in predicting rising temperatures, don’t…. Its a wonder correct science somehow gets through!

    Comment by wayne davidson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:08 PM

  111. 79 & 88 Scott A Mandia: I agree.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:15 PM

  112. Grunt @106, great time line compilation, there are many entries that are new to me. Thanks for the link.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:20 PM

  113. …. Journalists who fancily dont know the colour of ice or sea:

    http://www.theprovince.com/technology/Scan…/story.html

    never bother looking at graphs and stuff, so much easier to quote a scientists without further background research a few google seconds away:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png

    2010 just about reached 2008 anomaly minima 2 months early…. It seems like this:write the opposite of what is happening and everyone will worry about something else ?

    Comment by wayne davidson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:29 PM

  114. Eric: Reference “Storms of My Grandchildren” by Gavin’s boss, James Hansen. Dr. Hansen is clearly an activist and it isn’t hurting him any. I agree completely with Dr. Hansen’s reasoning.

    103 Grunt: Yes. Stop commenting and go study physics.

    [Response: I'm not placing any value judgements on what it means to be an 'activist'. I am objecting to the false impression provided by this 'list' that some sort of objective criteria has been used to classify me. I would object just as much if I had been classified as "not an activist".--eric]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  115. Grunt @ 106,
    Not sure if you were responding to my comment, but what I had in mind was actually more like adding a third axis to the graph, that showed snapshots of the same type of data, perhaps taken every 10 years. I’d be surprised if the researchers mentioned in the timeline did not have contemporaries who dissented with them.

    Comment by Chris G — 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  116. A Response to Eric Steig, Part I

    Eric Steig responded inline to 49:

    … If Pielke Sr. gets classified as a skeptic, or contrarian, or whatever, it is due to this sort of misleading rhetoric. It may not purposefully intend to mislead, but it is misleading nevertheless, and in quite substantive ways (because it implies that the mainstream view that we probably ought to cut CO2 emissions is based on faulty science). Note, however, this none of this has anything to do with Andregg et al., except that, if in fact he gets classified as a ‘denier’ in their analysis, this is probably why.

    I found the last sentence to be somewhat informative.

    You state, “… if in fact [Pielke Sr.] gets classified as a ‘denier’ in their analysis, this is probably why.”

    Apparently you do not know whether Pielke gets classified as a denier in their analysis. However there is only one place in the entire paper that the term “denier” gets used: the last sentence of the first paragraph.

    In that one sentence, Anderegg et al. (2010) states:

    This group, often termed climate change skeptics, contrarians, or deniers, has received large amounts of media attention and wields significant influence in the societal debate about climate change impacts and policy (7, 9–14).

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.full.pdf+html

    Beyond that, they simply refer to such individuals as researchers who are unconvinced by the evidence (UE) of [anthropogenic climate change] ACC. I refer you to the first sentence of the second paragraph:

    This group, often termed climate change skeptics, contrarians, or deniers, has received large amounts of media attention and wields significant influence in the societal debate about climate change impacts and policy (7, 9-14).

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:49 PM

  117. A Response to Eric Steig, Part II

    Now I had been told that Roger Pielke Sr. was the individual who first alerted you to this paper and that it could be used to blacklist people. Looking at the material quoted from your email at DotEarth, you state:

    The idea of listing the names of those people analyzed is disturbing for reasons that should be obvious. In this respect I completely agree with Roger that the “blacklist” metaphor is appropriate.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/notes-from-the-whaling-and-warming-wars/

    … it appears that my informant was right. But then based upon past experience I had every reason to think my informant trustworthly. Nevertheless I checked for myself.

    However, you admit that Pielke Sr. uses misleading rhetoric. You did so in your inline comment in 49:

    Both 2a and 2b are correct depending on what part of the system you are talking about. Pielke Sr. makes it sound like the ‘mainstream’ is missing something when they aren’t. Hence the definition of a loaded question: one that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved. If Pielke Sr. gets classified as a skeptic, or contrarian, or whatever, it is due to this sort of misleading rhetoric.

    Therefore you know that Pielke Sr. is misleading. And he has been misleading for quite a while during which no doubt a great many people told him what — given his intelligence and education — he no doubt was able to figure out for himself: that his rhetoric is misleading. As such we have very good reason to believe that he is deliberately misleading. Given your intelligence I have every reason to believe that you can see this.

    Thus when you state:

    It may not purposefully intend to mislead, but it is misleading nevertheless, and in quite substantive ways (because it implies that the mainstream view that we probably ought to cut CO2 emissions is based on faulty science).

    … I can only assume that you are trying to be polite and maintain a modicium of civility. But if this is the case then I have to wonder — Why did you trust Pielke’s interpretation of the paper? And why didn’t you read the paper for yourself prior to having your critique — which appears to have been Pielke’s critique once removed — printed in part in DotEarth?

    [Response: Tim, thanks for your thoughts. The idea that I would trust Pielke's interpretation of anything, without checking the facts first, is laughable, given his history of inflammatory accusations against me and RealClimate, not to mention many other people. Having read the paper, and the web site that it is linked with, I formed my own view, and I happen to largely agree with Roger on this. (This doesn't alter my view that Roger consistently and engages in much worse tactics, but that is really beside the point.) My view on the 'list' is that it is a terrible mistake politically, highly questionable ethically, and dubious scientifically. My view on the paper is largely that it should have not been linked to the list, but it was, and not be me, nor by Pielke, but by the authors. I have huge respect for Steve Schneider (I am not familiar with the other authors' previous work), but I think this paper and its explicit linkage with the web list was a very big mistake. --eric]

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:50 PM

  118. A Response to Eric Steig, Part III

    Now you are also quoted at DotEarth as having written:

    The methods appear suspect, because of the difficulty of separating ‘association’ from ‘opinion,’ and the requirement to put people in only one of two categories.

    What did you mean by “association”? In the context of a “blacklist” which you (or rather, Pielke Sr.?) seemed to think was somehow applicable to this peer-reviewed paper appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences, normally this would conjure up by means of association the notion of “guilt by association”? Is this what you meant? Or is did you mean by “association” that the criteria was subjective?

    In either case, I would like to point out that who got counted and who did not was entirely determined by who chose to voluntarily sign statements and who did not. I quote:

    We defined UE researchers as those who have signed statements strongly dissenting from the views of the IPCC. We compiled UE names comprehensively from 12 of the most prominent statements criticizing the IPCC conclusions (n = 472; SI Materials and Methods).

    Anderegg et al. (2010)

    Furthermore, if you go to the Supporting Information linked to by the phrase “SI Materials and Methods”, you will see that they are quite explicit about what lists were used.

    We define UE researchers as those who have signed reputable statements strongly dissenting from the views of the IPCC. We compiled UE names comprehensively from the following 12 lists: 1992 statement from the Science and Environmental Policy Project (46 names), 1995 Leipzig Declaration (80 names), 2002 letter to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien (30 names), 2003 letter to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin (46 names), 2006 letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (61 names), 2007 letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (100 names), 2007 TV film The Great Global Warming Swindle interviewees (17 names), NIPCC: 2008 Heartland Institute document “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate,” ed. S. Fred Singer (24 listed contributors), 2008 Manhattan Declaration from a conference in New York City (206 names listed as qualified experts), 2009 newspaper ad by the Cato Institute challenging President Obama’s stance on climate change (115 signers), 2009 Heartland Institute document “Climate Change Reconsidered: 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)” (36 authors), and 2009 letter to the American Physical Society (61 names). After removing duplicate names across these lists, we had a total of 472 names.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2010/06/07/1003187107.DCSupplemental/pnas.201003187SI.pdf

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:51 PM

  119. A Response to Eric Steig, Part IV

    Now you are quoted at DotEarth as having stated:

    2) The idea of listing the names of those people analyzed is disturbing for reasons that should be obvious….

    3) Some colleagues of mine have rightly pointed out that if names were not listed, then the authors would be accused of ‘refusing to divulge data.’

    However, the names are neither listed in the the paper itself nor in the SI Materials and Methods. The SI Materials and Methods do contain a link to a website where names are given — but it is also made clear that the people listed there are not necessarily the same as those that are counted in the paper itself. Moreover, even at the website where names are actually given, the statements signed by each individual are identified — and where possible linked to. (Some are no longer online.)

    So while you give the impression that the names are listed in the paper itself, they are not. And given that they are not listed in the paper, the term “blacklist” seems quite inappropriate. Furthermore, primarily, the lists that actually exist are the lists created by the individuals named in those lists — when they signed the statements. So if these lists are blacklists then we must conclude that the individuals on the lists voluntarily put themselves there — with the full understanding that the lists would be widely publicized. If these are blacklists they are very strange ones.
    *
    Now in the above essay that you coauthored, it states:

    To that end, folks like Fred Singer, Art Robinson, the Cato Institute and the ‘Friends’ of Science have periodically organised letters and petitions to indicate (or imply) that ‘very important scientists’ disagree with Kyoto, or the Earth Summit or Copenhagen or the IPCC etc. These are clearly attempts at ‘arguments from authority’, and like most such attempts, are fallacious and, indeed, misleading.

    They are misleading because as anyone with any familiarity with the field knows, the basic consensus is almost universally accepted….

    This is a point that we are in basic agreement on — and to me at least this suggests an alternative reason why the individuals who voluntarily put themselves on the lists would be opposed to PNAS paper.

    In an earlier comment (47) I stated in part:

    what the “contrarians” are really upset about is that they were trying by means of their lists to create the appearance that the climatology community is evenly divided — but now those lists and lists by scientists that affirm the conclusions of mainstream science have been used to show just how un-divided the scientific community actually is.

    The contrarians are a tiny but vocal and well-financed minority, similar to the libertarian/industry-funded scientists that opposed the regulation/phasing-out of dioxins, CFCs, asbestos, and cigarettes.

    I believe that this is the main reason why contrarians are so opposed to the analysis given by the paper, that and that is shows that they, “publish less often, are cited less often, typically they are much closer to retirement as opposed to the concerned scientists, …” (ibid.)

    There is another point on which we both agree. The classification could have been more finely-grained, distinguishing between climatologists who agree with the science but who are opposed to attempts to reduce the effects of climate change and those who actually deny the science. However, as the individuals who voluntarily signed their names to the various declarations were counted if and only if, judging from their publication record, they had expertise in climatology, it would seem that it was their expertise that was being counted on to give their judgment weight in the declarations themselves. As such, while I take the failure to make such a distinction to be important, I do not consider it to be a major failing — particularly if it results in a more conservative estimation of the strength of the consensus that exists regarding the science itself.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Jun 2010 @ 1:52 PM

  120. RE:>>>>>>[Response: There is, however, no evidence that 'skeptics' are being shut out of journals. There is indeed much evidence to the contrary.

    Not in the study that is the subject of this thread. That's the point. The study, by itself, logically proves a skeptic point as equally as it does its touted conclusion.

    [Response: That's a fair point of course, but it is strictly academic. No paper should ever be read in isolation, out of context with other with other evidence.--eric]

    Comment by J — 25 Jun 2010 @ 2:03 PM

  121. Eric, I understand that you object to the label. But with respect, you are missing the point. Those in the UE category elected to sign politically motivated, FF funded lists. They classified/labeled themselves, that the scientists in question did so is not the fault of the authors of the PNAS paper. I find it hypocritical how the contrarians accuse the IPCC and scientists involved in writing the reports of being politically motivated, and when the contrarians elect to sign politically-motivated and industry funded petitions.

    Could better methods been employed by the authors on how to group the scientists in the PNAS paper? Absolutely, there is always room for improvement. For example, the paper does not deal well with people like Pielke Snr. (who did sign at least one petition), but does not, as far as I know, dismiss AGW as a non-issue. Perhaps they needed a third category for fence sitters or ambiguous cases. But maybe they or whoever runs with this can get around to tackling that the next time round. I still find the findings insightful and revealing, and the results are pretty devastating for the contrarians. They also confirm (quantitatively) what people in the know have known or suspected for a long time. I suspect their findings are quite robust (they do corroborate earlier, independent analyses), no matter how one chooses to slice and dice or group the data. But perhaps a subsequent study can rigorously test that hypothesis.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 25 Jun 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  122. This grows ever more bizarre. I’m going to life a quotation from Michael Tobis’s Only in it for the Gold blog:

    “The system of scholastic disputations encouraged in the Universities of the middle ages had unfortunately trained men to habits of indefinite argumentation, and they often preferred absurd and extravagant propositions, because greater still was required to maintain them; the end and object of such intellectual combats being victory and not truth.

    “No theory could be too farfetched or fantastical not to attract some followers, provided it fell in with popular notions…”

    — Charles Lyell in “Principles of Geology” (1830)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  123. CORRECTION to A Response to Eric Steig, Part I

    Where I stated:

    Beyond that, they simply refer to such individuals as researchers who are unconvinced by the evidence (UE) of [anthropogenic climate change] ACC. I refer you to the first sentence of the second paragraph:

    … then repeated the earlier quote, I should have stated:

    … third sentence of the third paragraph…

    … and quoted:

    We provide a broad assessment of the relative credibility of researchers convinced by the evidence (CE) of [Anthropogenic Climate Change] ACC and those unconvinced by the evidence (UE) of ACC…

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Jun 2010 @ 2:11 PM

  124. One of the most commonly identified alleged weaknesses of the PNAS paper is the choice of friends/enemies dichotomy, instead of several categories ranging from outright denial of a warming trend to more nuanced objections to attribution all the way to full embrace of the IPCC consensus. That was my first thought, too.

    But upon further reflection, it’s clear that a binary categorization was the least problematic way to go. The use of multiple categories of skepticism/denialism/agreement would only produce countless objections about who belongs where. As it is, only Pielke Sr. is proving challenging to assign to the convinced or unconvinced division. Imagine if there were five or six categories…

    Comment by James Hrynyshyn — 25 Jun 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  125. James @125. Good points.

    IMO, with this kind of paper you are damned what you do or damned what you don’t do. Either way the “skeptics’ will squeal and spin it as has been done by Pielke Jnr and Roy Spencer.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 25 Jun 2010 @ 2:47 PM

  126. I like Robin Hanson’s idea or having betting markets on climate change.

    Comment by Floccina — 25 Jun 2010 @ 3:29 PM

  127. Gilles 96: are you sure that they aren’t very poor people in the world that would be very happy to use the spared 25 Mbl/d ???

    BPL: Are you sure there aren’t very hungry people in the world that would be very happy to eat human beings of other ethnic groups?

    Are you sure there aren’t very tired people in the world that would be very happy to have slaves?

    Just because a resource would help some people doesn’t mean it’s ethical for them to use it. The cash in the nearby Parkvale Bank would help me a lot, but that doesn’t mean I’m justified in drilling in through the wall and taking it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 3:38 PM

  128. “Average person” (#40), your omission of the science supporting the radiative power of CO2 and it’s feedbacks aside, you’d need to define “dramatic change” and the context in which it occurred. The key issue seems to be the relatively stable holocene climate and ecology that has greatly benefited humanity, and could well do so for thousands of years more (some much-needed growing-up time). When during the holocene has global climate shifted 3+ degrees C in the space of a century? Heck, even REGIONAL climate change has been disruptive to past societies. Societies that, although less technological, weren’t nearly as populous or as interconnected. So why risk accelerating things when we can try spurring an orderly transition from fossil fuels? The answers frequently seem to be greed, ignorance, and convenience.

    Comment by Ryan T — 25 Jun 2010 @ 4:01 PM

  129. Gerard Harbison says: 25 June 2010 at 9:11 AM

    All in all, this paper, published under the rubric of ’social science’ by a biologist, an engineer, a climate scientist and an MBA, is a pretty sad showing — not so much for the authors, but for PNAS, who are now publishing political rhetoric from unqualified amateurs as ’social science’.

    Actually, if you bother to look at Schneider’s CV and list of publications you’ll see he’s been dealing with social science aspects of climate change for some time, including decision making in the face of uncertainty which squarely straddles the province of social sciences. He’s an excellent case-example of the fruitful practice of interdisciplinary research, as for that matter is Roger Pielke Jr.

    The paper is largely a statistical exercise in any case. Perhaps involving a statistician would be helpful but then tens of thousands of papers have been published by scientists with functional application knowledge of stats that did not require such special assistance and yet involved much more thorny statistical challenges.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Jun 2010 @ 4:06 PM

  130. Regarding the Prall list, it was an existing and potentially useful compendium of data that unfortunately was not composed for the explicit purpose of Anderegg’s paper and as such carried with it some historical baggage having to do with its original purpose.

    Ideally a “clean” list might have been created. This could have been accomplished by “sanitizing” Prall’s list, removing the germane content and isolating it from what people perceive as politically charged but is there much doubt that the same objections would have been raised, seeing as how the ultimate provenance of the data would still need to be indentified?

    Or an application specific survey could have been created but that would of course entail cost as well as inevitably carrying the usual liabilities of survey design, response rates etc. One could also argue that such an instrument would never capture attitudes as authentically as does Prall’s list, composed as it is of people who have spontaneously volunteered information about their attitudes as opposed to being solicited for a survey.

    Anderegg leaned on a self-selected measure of attitudes that was already preexisting and not intended for research purposes, somewhat akin to using drivers license data to tease out attitudes to organ donation versus age or the like. Was Anderegg’s choice to use this data an aggressive act, an intentional direction of attention to Prall’s list for the purpose of condemnation? Folks on the list might feel otherwise but ascribing some nefarious purpose to the use of an existing collection of data for analysis when that data is so plainly useful seems quite a stretch of imagination.

    [Response: I won't speak for others, but in criticizing the Prall list and its connection with the paper, I by no means implied 'nefarious intent'. But then, those in the 1950s that told government authorities about suspected communists at work, or at school, didn't 'intend" anything either. The point, once again, is that the list of names by *any* category is objectionable. I simply reject the notion that this list should have been made public in detail, before, but especially after, the publication of the Anderegg paper. This is indeed a very example of why Steve McIntyre, George Monbiot, Ralph Cicerone and everyone else are wrong when say all the code, data, and minutae of every study should be made public and readily accessible on the web. These sorts of shrill proclamations aren't thought out, and here is a nice example of just how wrong that sort of generalization can be. Again, in medical studies names are never included, but no one accuses the medical researchers of 'refusing to divulge the data'. There is simply no justifiable purpose for having the list of names available anywhere, except possibly to the confidential peer reviewers of the paper. Why most of my colleagues on the left, right, and center fail to see this is completely baffling to me (other than the obvious explanation that they have not read up on history or have their heads in the sand).--eric]

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Jun 2010 @ 4:21 PM

  131. Doug:

    Could you provide a link or citation to a single piece of social science research that Schneider has published, prior to this?

    Comment by Gerard Harbison — 25 Jun 2010 @ 4:22 PM

  132. Gerard Harbison says: 25 June 2010 at 4:22 PM

    “Interdisciplinary”, Gerard.

    Uncertainty and Climate
    Change Policy

    Go ahead and quibble over what constitutes “social science research” or qualifications to employ social science methods but if you read work he’s coauthored it’s obvious that Schneider has a good working knowledge of social science research as it applies to thinking about climate change.

    What social science technique do you believe Schneider bungled, by the way? Or is this discussion focused on the person as opposed to the work product?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:07 PM

  133. Eric Steig wrote inline to 118:

    Having read the paper, and the web site that it is linked with, I formed my own view, and I happen to largely agree with Roger on this. (This doesn’t alter my view that Roger consistently and engages in much worse tactics, but that is really beside the point.)

    Then why did you make the following statement?

    Eric Steig responded inline to 49:

    Note, however, this none of this has anything to do with Andregg et al., except that, if in fact he gets classified as a ‘denier’ in their analysis, this is probably why.

    The paper only mentions the term “denier” along with “skeptic” and “contrarian” in passing — as terms which get used elsewhere — and instead chooses to frame things in terms of those who are convinced or unconvinced by the evidence. Moreover, the paper does not speak of Roger Pielke Sr., he is not mentioned in the supporting information, and it is only by following a link from the paper itself to the supporting information, then from the supporting information to the website that you will find Roger Pielke mentioned — and there you will also find that he is listed because he signed:

    Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Greenhouse Warming (1992)
    http://www.sepp.org/policy%20declarations/statment.html

    Furthermore even at that website, Jim Prall himself speaks in terms of “skeptics”, not “deniers” — although in truth the latter would usually seem to be far more appropriate of those who choose to call themselves “skeptics” — but at present I will simply speak of them as contrarians.
    *
    It would be absurd to claim that the lists created by the contrarians are blacklists. It is equally absurd to claim that a paper that analyzes those lists but does not actually include them or any of the names that are on those lists itself constitutes a blacklist.

    The contrarians themselves created those lists in order to create the appearance the scientific community is largely divided — and thus that there is no consensus. The paper analyzes this in terms of the authors that actually count and the degree to which they should be counted — given how prolific the authors are and how often they are cited. It demonstrates that what few climatologists disagree with the consensus constitute a tiny fraction of scientists working in climatology — and thus that the consensus is quite real.

    Contrarians have no argument against this — and therefore have come up with the absurd claim that the authors were creating a blacklist. And in the New York Times — you gave that claim something that they themselves were entirely incapable of: an air of legitimacy.

    I have a great deal of respect for your work and no doubt will continue to do so. However, on this point I must most vehemently disagree.

    [Response: Tim. I understand your pionts, but please do not climategate me. By that I mean, do not make me explain each and every word I write and how they may or may not relate to something else you think I meant to say. Again, I think the claim that the paper and the web site that it links to (yes, it does link to it) are totally separate entities is not justifiable. I'm sorry if you think I've given the 'skeptics' ammunition, but first of all, I simply cannot be silent about something that I think is quite egregious. I bite my tongue quite often on minor issues, but in this case I frankly thought the Prall (specifically) stepped over a very serious ethical line. I have gotten enough questions about why I think this that I suppose I need to write something up on this, but it won't be here at RealClimate. It'll be an opinion piece for the Times or something. And it will take me a while to write it. As I've discovered recently, just about anything I say can and will be used against me -- and indeed against scientists in general -- by very adept crafters of rhetoric. I won't name names. ;) --eric]

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:16 PM

  134. #BPL128 “BPL: Are you sure there aren’t very hungry people in the world that would be very happy to eat human beings of other ethnic groups?”

    sorry BPL, I don’t catch the comparison. Naturally if half of the world were eating other human beings, it would be totally unfair to forbid the other half to do so for moral reasons.

    The consumption of oil wouldn’t be forbidden – it would still be burnt at a pace of 25 Mbl/d in my example. So my question is : who would be entitled to burn these 25 Mbl/d and who couldn’t do it, if we are able to produce 50 Mbl/d ? how concretely would you prevent them to do it ? (of course the question applies as long as there is a decrease of oil production : for instance the current oil production has slightly decreased because of the crisis, but is slowly recovering : if there is no geological constraint on it (I think there are actually, but no more in my example), how can you prevent the economic growth to raise naturally the need for oil ? I think there are enough people who want even a hybrid car to buy happily all the oil that can be economically extracted !

    Comment by Gilles — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:22 PM

  135. Gerard Harbison:

    You could, for instance, use your search engine of choice, type “Stephen Schneider” and click on his website.

    From there, you can click on his publications page yourself.

    I think you can find at least one “social science” based paper/book chapter in there.

    You may also wish to click the header bar – it’s right on top – and see the “Climate Policy” link for more of Schneider’s writings that are not based on the “non” social sciences.

    Lastly, some freely given advice. Try lowering your puerile snarkiness both here and in James’ blog. This, combined with your laziness in a task as simple as searching for Schneider’s social science publications, is really beneath someone who (ironically?) claims to be a professor.

    Comment by Former Skeptic — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:36 PM

  136. So to cut through the waffle, he’s never done any social science research.

    The theme of the PNAS paper is that CEs are more qualified than UEs to comment of climate science policy because they’ve published more research papers in the field. The PNAS paper is published in a field in which none of the authors have ever published a single piece of prior research. This is beyond irony; we have here a paper invalidated by its own premise.

    Substantive criticisms have already been pointed out here: determining current attitudes to AGW based on past signatures to a very diverse series of letters/petitions over twenty years is methodologically suspect, and it is my understanding that this is not an accepted sociological method of determining attitudes. The methods for assessing productivity are also suspect. I highly doubt this paper would have survived actual peer review.

    Comment by Gerard Harbison — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:49 PM

  137. Eric Steig wrote inline to 134

    As I’ve discovered recently, just about anything I say can and will be used against me — and indeed against scientists in general — by very adept crafters of rhetoric. I won’t name names. ;) –eric

    They always seem to have some sort of spin they can put on things, don’t they? Take care…

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Jun 2010 @ 5:57 PM

  138. Following the title of this thread, but certainly not the comments so far, here is an article about some important people who rather deeply want to know what climatologists think:
    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/06/24/24climatewire-defense-experts-want-more-explicit-climate-m-35887.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 6:01 PM

  139. #63

    Climate change is nothing out of the ordinary. It been occurring for millions of years, and you are asking “if there is a consistent long-term trend in the climate data.”

    It would be surprising if the was no change, given the context I provide in my answer.

    Others, however, have a different view @70

    Comment by Average Person — 25 Jun 2010 @ 6:17 PM

  140. Gerard:

    I highly doubt this paper would have survived actual peer review.

    Gerard, you’d be more credible if you were aware of some elementary facts, such as that Anderegg’s paper was in fact reviewed prior to publication according to PNAS’ normal process.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Jun 2010 @ 6:22 PM

  141. Gerard @137,

    I think what I posted over at Spencer’s page addresses your complaint, at least in part. And I do not concur that the paper is invalidated by its own premise, that sounds like some pretty fancy spin to me— this paper is not a climate science paper. Contrarians/”skeptics” want it both ways– first they make the excuses that publications are not a good metric of expertise (see below) and then they use the fact that the authors have few publications to dismiss this paper. Please do make up your mind!

    Anyhow, here is what I wrote to Spencer:

    “This from the BBC concerning the paper in question:

    “Sceptical groups, however, argued that publication in scientific journals was not a fair test of expertise.”

    So I find it rather bizarre that people here are lamenting about the alleged “ivory tower” in climate science, yet here you are here claiming that someone with “only” a MSc and no prior publications is incapable of doing research. That strikes me as not only contradictory, but also rather hypocritical. You also allege that Anderegg made “serious allegations”, but provided no evidence of such allegations.

    You might also be surprised how many scientists having Master’s degrees do publish (and very successfully I might add) in reputable peer-reviewed journals. Some of them even prior to completing their degrees (whether it be a MSC or PhD).

    Instead of making baseless ad hominem attacks [edit], please at least try tackle their work. And please remember that all young scientists have to start somewhere, and rather than attacking them as you are doing here one should be encouraging/supporting them.”

    You also conveniently ignore the inconvenient fact that the findings made in this paper corroborates findings made by previous efforts.

    I encourage you to read the views of Dr. Michael Tobis on this.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 25 Jun 2010 @ 6:22 PM

  142. gain off-topic, but this happens to be about what happened at a particular time long ago of great inerest to me:
    Higher Wetland Methane Emissions Caused by Climate Warming 40,000 Years Ago
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624144105.htm

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Jun 2010 @ 7:04 PM

  143. Re:>>> “I like Robin Hanson’s idea or having betting markets on climate change.”

    Here you go, offer your wager:

    http://www.longbets.org/bets

    Comment by J — 25 Jun 2010 @ 7:18 PM

  144. Gerard Harbison, This paper is not really a piece of “social science” so much as it is sociology of science. It is not saying much different from what I have been saying all along. That is: that publication in scientific journals on a subject and citations are good metrics of a scientist’s expertise in a field. There are good reasons to expect this–namely that the scientist with the most fruitful ideas is likely to be the one publishing most frequently and having the most influence in advancing the field. On the other hand, if a researcher is unproductive, it may be a sign that their ideas are not fruitful.

    This is clearly the case in climate science: you simply cannot understand Earth’s climate without CO2 providing significant forcing.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Jun 2010 @ 8:28 PM

  145. @141

    Doug: you’d be more credible if you knew how the PNAS ‘peer review’ scam works. Have you ever published in PNAS? No? I have. Schneider, as a member, selected his own two reviewers. One of the could have been his mom, for all we know.

    [edit]

    Comment by Gerard Harbison — 25 Jun 2010 @ 9:39 PM

  146. what will be the worst effects of global warming?

    sea level rise? species extinction?

    ***PROJECT JIM!***

    Comment by Walter Crain — 25 Jun 2010 @ 9:44 PM

  147. Gerard Harbison, This paper is not really a piece of “social science” so much as it is sociology of science.

    When you’re counting angels on pinheads, Ray, you’ve lost contact with the real world.

    FWIW, I am not a climate skeptic. I am a scientist who cares about the integrity of science.

    Comment by Gerard Harbison — 25 Jun 2010 @ 9:45 PM


  148. FWIW, I am not a climate skeptic. I am a scientist who cares about the integrity of science.

    Then certainly, you have expressed concerns about global-warming “skeptic” papers like McLean/de Freitas/Carter 2009, Soon/Baliunas 2003, etc., etc. that were published in spite of the fact that they contained errors that an undergraduate would be dinged for at any respected university…

    Comment by caerbannog — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:13 PM

  149. Gerald Harbison:

    Strike two.

    Anderegg et al. was peer reviewed in the proper manner. In fact, one of the reviewers (a noted social scientist) even posted his comments.

    A little bit of research – which you appear reluctant to do, in spite of your incessant harrumphing – would have told you that.

    Instead of pontificating about the integrity of science, or trying to impress us about the PNAS review process, which most of us here know about…how about thinking before you post next time?

    Comment by Former Skeptic — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:23 PM

  150. Eric’s response in 147:

    “As I’ve discovered recently, just about anything I say can and will be used against me — and indeed against scientists in general — by very adept crafters of rhetoric.”

    And it should be! The very second anyone begins writing on the opinion page of the Times they’ve crossed the rubicon into politics. Sorry, one does not get untouchable status within the political realm due to a Ph.D.

    [Response: A fair point. But I'm not objecting to people criticizing me, disagreeing with me, or even calling me an idiot. I'm objecting to people twisting my words to mean something different from what was obviously intended.--eric]

    Comment by Frank Giger — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:27 PM

  151. Just a couple of rhetorical questions here for lurkers/etc. here to think about. If anyone wants to follow up on them, that would be great. But I’m mostly tossing these questions out as food for thought for the lurkers…

    1) Question for the ACC “supporters”. Can you name 5 prominent scientists who “support” the IPCC position and describe briefly what they’ve done to advance the state of climate-science in the past decade?

    2) Now for ACC “skeptics”. Can you name 5 prominent scientists who are skeptical of the IPCC position and describe briefly what they’ve done to advance the state of climate-science in the past decade?

    Not that I’m expecting anyone here to burn up a lot of time answering these questions… But questions like these are what lurkers here should be keeping in mind as they peruse on-line arguments about Anderegg et al.

    Comment by caerbannog — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:35 PM

  152. Ray Ladbury wrote in 145:

    Gerard Harbison, This paper is not really a piece of “social science” so much as it is sociology of science.

    Gerard Harbison wrote in 148:

    When you’re counting angels on pinheads, Ray, you’ve lost contact with the real world.

    If you are working in science, this is quite different from someone who is working in either the philosophy of science or the history of science. Likewise if you are working on the history of philosophy you might take an interest in the rise of religions or science and turn to either Hegel or Marx with their grand narratives attempting to explain the evolution of human civilization, whereas if you are interested in the history of philosophy you might consider Frederick Copleston — who is largely just trying to describe in layman’s terms and in chronological order different philosophical systems.

    In any case, Ray Ladbury was responding to what you had written in 137:

    The theme of the PNAS paper is that CEs are more qualified than UEs to comment of climate science policy because they’ve published more research papers in the field. The PNAS paper is published in a field in which none of the authors have ever published a single piece of prior research. This is beyond irony; we have here a paper invalidated by its own premise.

    … but he wasn’t the only one that addressed it.

    Former Skeptic wrote in 136:

    Gerard Harbison:

    You could, for instance, use your search engine of choice, type “Stephen Schneider” and click on his website.

    From there, you can click on his publications page yourself.

    I think you can find at least one “social science” based paper/book chapter in there.

    Either way your point has been rendered mute.

    Gerard Harbison continued in 148:

    FWIW, I am not a climate skeptic. I am a scientist who cares about the integrity of science.

    A chemist involved in the study of bacteriorhodopsin — a rhodopsin they use not for seeing but for the conversion of sunlight into energy. Fascinating stuff. Along these lines I have heard that there is a bacteriophage (virus that infects bacteria) that will substitute its own rhodopsin gene — which it has no use for in the absence of a host — for the bacterial rhodopsin so that the bacterium will continue to produce energy even as its systems shut down due the the infection. Zombie bacteria — bacteria that are the living dead. Interestingly enough, the viral rhodopsin is more efficient.

    The scientist part checks out.

    However, you said, “FWIW, I am not a climate skeptic. I am a scientist who cares about the integrity of science.”

    I found your blog — and your self-description:

    The Right Wing Professor is the web name of Gerard Harbison, an atheist, libertarian-conservative chemist. Atheist conservatives; we bitterly cling to no religion; instead, we own twice as many guns!

    The Right Wing Professor’s Blog (Gerard Harbison)
    http://homepage.mac.com/gerardharbison/blog/RWP_blog.html

    When it comes to climatology or any other branch of science that begins to rub up against your ideology, it appears that you are a scientist who seeks knowledge in the same way that zombies seek life — and now we see the light.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:44 PM

  153. “In short, this paper says almost nothing of value.” – Reasonable Observer

    In other words it doesn’t support your world view.

    The ages of the deniers is what interests me. They are old, and will be dying out much earlier than the experts.

    [Response: You're assuming that as the rest of us age we won't turn into deniers too. ;) --eric]

    Comment by vendicar decarian — 25 Jun 2010 @ 11:53 PM

  154. Timothy Chase @153 and Former Skeptic @ 150. Many thanks for settling that.

    Dr. Steig. If you do decide to go ahead with the Times article, best of luck.

    Dr. Judith Curry continues to disappoint at Keith Kloors……

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/06/21/the-climate-experts/comment-page-7/#comment-9026

    Fortunately Stephen Leahy, dhogaza and Eli Rabett set the record, and Dr. Curry, straight.

    [Response: OMG. Judy Curry claims that state climatologists are losing their jobs due to being skeptics. Hence, McCarthyism is here, and this time it is coming from the left! OMG OMG. Oh wait, check sources. Always check sources. Reboot, reboot! Judy admits that this is just something she found on "Google". What's "Google?" I don't see that in the Citation Index anywhere. Hmm. When my students cite "Google" as a source in their research papers, they get an F. Isn't she a full professor at GaTech? Maybe I had that wrong and she is just a Yahoo, err, I mean Google. I can't keep these new media sources straight.... {Sorry for what may be taken as snide remarks but... really, I am once again appalled.--eric}]

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 26 Jun 2010 @ 12:12 AM

  155. vendicar decarian wrote in 154:

    “In short, this paper says almost nothing of value.” – Reasonable Observer

    In other words it doesn’t support your world view.

    The ages of the deniers is what interests me. They are old, and will be dying out much earlier than the experts.

    I don’t think age has quite as much to do with it as you might think.

    I grew into adulthood reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and as a follower of a libertarian philosophy called Objectivism I learned that existence exists independently of our awareness of it and that consciousness is radically dependent upon existence for its material. This is the principle that Objectivists refer to as the primacy of existence.

    As a corollary to this I learned that identification has precedence over evaluation — that the standard of objectivity is primary and the standard of value derivative, or to put this in somewhat more general terms, the normativity involved in epistemology is more fundamental than any normativity that arises in relation to ethics. Consequently, fallacies such as appeal to authority or ad hominem attacks are invalid at root because they violate this principle — and likewise, the root of all sin lies in evasion — the refusal to know. As such, I concluded that if identification is granted precedence over evaluation then science — which deals primarily with the identification of reality — must be granted precedence over politics and ideology — which attempt to provide guidance to our actions in how we deal with one-another — which is itself derivative of how we live in relation to reality.

    But far too often this isn’t what “Objectivists” “learn” from Objectivism. Instead, with a concrete-bound understanding of metaphysics, they believe that they must reject Special Relativity, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics as violating what they understand to be the law of identity and causality. And they learn to reject science whenever it comes into conflict with their libertarian ideology, whether it happens to be in the area of carcinogenic dioxins, ozone-destroying CFCs, asbestos-related lung disease, tobacco with all of its associated diseases or anthropogenic global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions.

    They believe themselves to be rational in part because they reject religion, but like a religious fundamentalist who rejects evolutionary biology because it comes into conflict with his understanding of Genesis and his religion, they reject science when it comes into conflict with their philosophy and political ideology. And this isn’t something that they pick up only later in life — but that they will most fervently believe in during their early college years. Later — having come to believe that politics comes first — they will fall away from Objectivism — yet remain libertarian.

    The denialism and evasion remain, but they took firm root early on. They still do.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Jun 2010 @ 1:32 AM

  156. re: #154 age distributions
    Vendicar, if you are into this, you might take a look at last year’s petition to American Physical Society, which included some demographic analysis of the signers. See section 5, p.17-. It is strongly-skewed older, and there is enough data to estimate APS’s demographics.
    For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s so much an age thing as a specific combination of historical environments. When some one who is now 30 turns 80, they will *not* have lived through WW II, worked on the Manhattan Project, or been heavily involved in the Cold War.

    Also, be very careful of direction of causality between (retired) and (signing such things) and the strength of effect.

    This analysis:
    1) Studied the list of signers as it grew. All signed it last year, so it wasn’t stale data.
    2) Observed that the list was used for widespread publicity purposes beyond the ostensible purpose of changing the APS position, citing the signers as (mostly) PhD physicists and using that credibility to promote this.

    In the light of current discussions, perhaps studying a list from a heavily-promoted website is viewed as counterproductive, but if so, so be it.

    Comment by John Mashey — 26 Jun 2010 @ 1:41 AM

  157. Gerard Harbison says: 25 June 2010 at 9:39 PM

    [edit]

    Rats, I don’t get my allotted portion of insult.

    …you’d be more credible if you knew how the PNAS ‘peer review’ scam works.

    Your remark suggests some questions.

    When you publish in PNAS do you get in on the “scam” by picking your own reviewers? Why do you publish in a “scam” journal anyway? Are you inclined to “scams” yourself or do you just get a thrill from consorting with “scammers?” When submitting a paper to PNAS have you prefaced your cover letter to the editor with remarks to the effect that you know the journal is a “scam” but you’re hoping to avoid being besmirched? How does it feel to be first author of a paper in a “scam” journal? Does that make you “lead scammer?” Do your coauthors realize you’ve involved them in a “scam” journal? Do your coauthors know you’re hanging around on blogs characterizing their work as part of a “scam?”

    Back to the topic at hand, as you’re prepared to speak your opinion on so many things, let me ask, why do you feel Anderegg et al are unqualified to write their paper but you are suitable to critique it? Are you a social scientist? Would you suffice as a reviewer? Or is this some kind of scam you’re practicing?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Jun 2010 @ 2:40 AM

  158. 155, Heard it all… Judith, if you read this, is Arctic sea ice embracing a political view? Rather than merely an expression of integrated weather… Oh dear, things in academia contrarianism have gone from bad to nuts….

    Comment by wayne davidson — 26 Jun 2010 @ 2:41 AM

  159. Barton Paul Levenson. Thank you for the link to your page on the Testability of Climate Models. I’ve been recently researching climate-reviewed papers and measured data that disagree with the very first item on your list (which is also the most directly appropriate to the broader discussion).

    …that Global Climate Models (plural) “have predicted that the globe would warm, and about how fast and about how much.”

    Yes, I’ve read in RC, “Hansen’s 1988 Projections” from May 15, 2007. I read it the day it was posted. I’ve also read the more recent piece on attribution, among dozens of others.

    Still, as the potential contributor of 70 thousand dollars over my remaining lifetime (see posts above), I must echo your sentiment when I say that your presumption in that first item is “stunningly wrong”. Using as an example, the much lauded climate models from James Hansen as presented to Congress in 1988, the statistical data over the past six years has clearly showed a real declining deviation from those predictions. You may deny it if you wish (again, may I call you a “denier? :-)), but both data manipulation and dubious statistical methods have been used to represent global temperatures over the past half decade as they set against Hansen’s A, B and C scenarios. Granted, much of that has been done for political purposes and in less structured forums, but, as you know, a variety of questionable methods are now being associated with the last IPCC report. That is a document which should not find itself embroiled in such controversy. Talk about an attribution problem! It seems fairly clear that even many of you are more frequently using the now politically correct term “Climate Change” – even on this distinguished blog – over that same time period of five years. I could probably “prove it” statistically.

    I have studied peer-reviewed papers and published data which corroborate my point-of-view, but I suspect you would then find the authors of those documents to be less than “credible”, despite their credentials. Maybe, someone should make a list of those troublemakers, so that the average AP reporter on the warmist payroll knows who to ignore? :-)

    Still, your own list shows signs of a common bias. You precede the seventeen items with “Global Climate Models have successfully predicted:” Now, there are a lot of models in that well from which you draw. I’m not at all surprised that some of them have made successful predictions when there are so many to choose from. It’s the key to a tried and true card trick i’d be happy to show you. All the best in their field have used it – from Houdini to Copperfield.

    Again, I do honestly appreciate the opportunity to contribute an opinion in this forum. Hopefully, my sarcastic tone is taken in the spirit in which it was delivered – and in response to the same tone from others. Despite being almost ridiculously studious on these issues for a layman, I am not ungrateful for the chance to address my concerns.

    Comment by Edward A. Barkley — 26 Jun 2010 @ 5:09 AM

  160. I’m old. And I’ve seen these conspiracies about the “plots” of scientists before.

    Eventually, the political winds change, and the junk scientists get thrown under the bus by their former sponsors who denounce their old conspiracy theories because they finally realize that they need the help of real scientists to solve problems.

    It doesn’t get any better than this.

    Izvestiya (3-19-92) reported:

    [KGB chief Yevgeni Primakov] mentioned the well known articles printed a few years ago in our central newspapers about AIDS supposedly originating from secret Pentagon laboratories. According to Yevgeni Primakov, the articles exposing US scientists’ ‘crafty’ plots were fabricated in KGB offices.

    [Note: the Soviet Academy of Sciences had publically distanced themselves from this conspiracy theory about crafty American scientists in 1987.]

    [Response: Myles Allen made some interesting points about the development of AIDS research, scientific conspirancy theory, and the like, here.--eric]

    Comment by Snapple — 26 Jun 2010 @ 5:21 AM

  161. AP 140: Climate change is nothing out of the ordinary. It been occurring for millions of years,

    BPL: Extinction of primates is nothing out of the ordinary, either, and it, too, has been occurring for millions of years.

    You’ve got the wrong time scale. On a historical scale, global climate has been exquisitely stable for thousands of years–that’s probably WHY agriculture finally succeeded, after intelligent primates had already been around for hundreds of thousands of years and several interglacials.

    We’re changing the climate faster than our agriculture and economy can keep up, and it’s a very great danger.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Jun 2010 @ 6:09 AM

  162. Walter Crain 147,

    Drought. That’s what’s going to kill us long before sea level rise.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Jun 2010 @ 6:12 AM

  163. It seems that Anderegg et al are confusing or confounding two things. First is to ask the question, are the UE (unconvinced) as expert as the CE (convinced) scientists? This is a sampling issue. That is, we regard their two groups as random (or at least reasonably representative) samples drawn from the population of UE and CE scientists. The second is a population issue: what fraction of all climate scientists are the CE ones (c97-98% they say)? In this case, we hope that somehow either they have pretty much got every climate scientist in their sample, or alternatively have hit on a method of sampling randomly/representatively from the entire population of climate scientists so that the proportions in the two groups reflects the true population proportions.

    Some of what they do certainly seems to be plain wrong. Take Fig 2. They say

    “We examined a subsample of the 50 most-published (highest expertise) researchers from each group. Such subsampling facilitates comparison of relative expertise between groups (normalizing differences between absolute numbers). This method reveals large differences in relative expertise between CE andUE groups (Fig. 2). Though the top-published researchers in the CE group have an average of 408 climate publications (median = 344), the top UE researchers average only 89 publications (median = 68; Mann– Whitney U test:W= 2,455; P < 10−15). Thus, this suggests that not all experts are equal, and top CE researchers have much stronger expertise in climate science than those in the top UE group”.

    Critically, according to their definition of a climate researcher, there are 93 UE types and 817 CE types (from the appendix).

    Suppose the truth is that both groups have the same distribution of expertise (= publication count). That is, the probability of having more than a certain number of publications is the same for a UE as a CE person. They take the top 50 of each group. Now the top 50 from a group of 93 will include a lot of people way down the probability distribution. The top 50 from 817 will be hitting much higher numbers with very high probability. So the comparison is meaningless without correcting for the relative sample sizes. I cannot really believe they did something so stupid, so maybe I am misreading the method, but I don’t think so. (If I’m right, someone else must have pointed this out already.)

    They say:
    “TheUE group comprises only 2% of the top 50 climate researchers as ranked by expertise (number of climate publications)”.

    This depends critically on whether they have a method for getting a representative sample across all climate scientists, or have more or less got all climate scientists in their sample, as mentioned earlier. I can’t see any reason to think that they have.

    Figure 1 is more meaningful, but again there is a big selection question. Say that IPCC contributors are selected because they have solid track records (hopefully this is true!). On the other hand people who sign statements are more randomly drawn from the field, including much more junior scientists. Then since the CE group is defined to include the IPCC contributors, it will by construction have people with more papers (the IPCC inclusion would be a form of truncation), it seems inevitable there will be a bias. This would apply a fortiori when all 1372 researchers are included in their comparisons.

    [Response: You make some interesting points here, but your null hypothesis that 'both groups have the same distribution of expertise (= publication count)' misleading. Even if it were true, it would still be the case that there are more highly-published experts in the UE group, simply because there are more of them. A random sampling from each group would indeed -- if you null is correct -- result in a subset with equal expertise. But why would you sample randomly? If 'expertise' is actually measured by publication count (the premise here), then you would actually want to sample from top end. And if you do that, you'll hear the same voice over and over again on the UE side, but you'd have multiple voices on the CE side. Which is of course exactly what happens in reality. So it would seem that Anderegg's point is demonstrated, *even if* your null hypothesis is correct.

    Your point about 'selection bias' by choosing IPCC as a filter has more merit. (As you say, one would hope that there is a bias here towards expertise!). But here, your implied null hypothesis is that there is an equally large expert group out there somewhere on the UE side. Maybe there is, but if so, one ought to be able to compile the data and subject it to Anderegg's et al.s type of analysis. I'm not holding my breath.--eric]

    Comment by Roger D. — 26 Jun 2010 @ 6:34 AM

  164. Re: inline to #155–

    Here in Georgia, it’d be far more likely for state climatological personnel to be subject to political pressure running the other way. . . not that I’ve specifically heard anything suggesting such a thing has occurred.

    But I have had significant correspondence with our federal Senators, who are political allies of the Governor and the majority party in the state Legislature. You might metaphorically say “it’s Moranos all the way down.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 Jun 2010 @ 7:01 AM

  165. Your students get an ‘F’ for citing Google as a source while Anderegg et al, a work largely based on Google searches, gets published by PNAS. The authors excuse themselves by suggesting it is the most conservative of the search engines in the context of their interests, blah, blah, blah.

    This paper is “disingenuous and dishonest with respect to the science.” Indeed there was little or nothing related to science involved in its authorship. Some google searches and a significance test? That’s the stuff of an undergrad. You’ve rightly characterized it as “egregious.”

    Given the lack of critical attention this paper has received outside of the ‘UE’ blogs, your lone criticisms notwithstanding, one wonders if the ‘CE’ side recognizes the irony.

    While this paper purports to distinguish expertise and prominence, in fact it diminishes the credibility of its co-authors, shames its publisher, undermines the credibility of the process by which it was reviewed, and very likely contributes to the skepticism.

    But having that list sure makes it easy to identify the bad guys. And that really was the point, wasn’t it?

    [Response: You are conflating a few different things here. --eric]

    Comment by pasteur — 26 Jun 2010 @ 7:52 AM

  166. Conflation where conflation is due.

    Comment by pasteur — 26 Jun 2010 @ 8:14 AM

  167. Your students get an ‘F’ for citing Google as a source while Anderegg et al, a work largely based on Google searches, gets published by PNAS

    For citing Google scholar, which indexes the scientific literature, not every blog rant in the universe.

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Jun 2010 @ 8:26 AM

  168. Gerard Harbison@148, I’m sorry, but I don’t see where I mentioned either “pins” or “angels” in my post#145.

    [edit - please keep it polite]

    If none of the above, perhaps you might like take time from you busy schedule of doing “libertarian-conservative chemistry” to respond to the substance of my argument–to wit, that there is every reason to expect those who publish most actively to have the best understanding of a field.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jun 2010 @ 8:28 AM

  169. pasteur 166, 167

    I believe I would give you an “F” for such an obtuse comparison.

    Comment by RickG — 26 Jun 2010 @ 9:25 AM

  170. I’m sorry, but when an ignoramus isn’t even aware of STS studies and accuses ME of arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, I think he is due any amount of vitriol I can spew his way.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jun 2010 @ 9:28 AM

  171. “For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s so much an age thing as a specific combination of historical environments.” – John Mashey

    I agree with you, and repeat the observation that the denialists – being older – will soon be extinct, while the consensus view will live on.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 26 Jun 2010 @ 9:41 AM

  172. @pasteur:
    I guess Inhofe’s list of climate ‘skeptics’ is a blacklist, too?

    Or is it a *whitelist*: those scientists who will get money when the Republican Party gets back in power?

    And all those petitions that the ‘skeptics’ signed (willingly, I might add). Blacklists, too? Oh wait, those are actually the source of Jim Prall’s list!

    Comment by Marco — 26 Jun 2010 @ 11:19 AM

  173. Tim Chase (#156) wrote:

    But far too often this isn’t what “Objectivists” “learn” from Objectivism. Instead, with a concrete-bound understanding of metaphysics, they believe that they must reject Special Relativity, General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics as violating what they understand to be the law of identity and causality. And they learn to reject science whenever it comes into conflict with their libertarian ideology, whether it happens to be in the area of carcinogenic dioxins, ozone-destroying CFCs, asbestos-related lung disease, tobacco with all of its associated diseases or anthropogenic global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions.

    Subjectively–and the irony is noted!–this strikes me as a pretty penetrating analysis, based upon the interactions & conversations I’ve had with such folk. The irony that applies to my response, however, also applies to the process described: in valuing a “concrete-bound understanding of [meta]physics” [my brackets], they essentially value a more subjective thought system [a logically-rigorous but unempirical metaphysics] over a more objective one [relativity.]

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 Jun 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  174. Timothy Chase wrote: “… as a follower of a libertarian philosophy called Objectivism I learned that existence exists independently of our awareness of it …”

    That’s an assertion that cannot in principle be subjected to empirical observation. It is thus an untestable, unfalsifiable article of faith.

    What exactly is meant by “existence”?

    What if anything is meant by the statement “existence exists”?

    What is meant by “awareness”?

    How can anything at all be said about this “existence” other than that which is known, discovered, determined or realized by our “awareness” of it, i.e. by actual observation?

    Does not the assertion that “existence” is “independent” of “our awareness of it” beg the question of whether “existence” and “awareness” are in reality two separate things rather than mere conceptual categories of thought with which we organize different aspects of experience?

    The reason that Objectivists reject the epistemology and ontology of relativity and quantum physics is precisely because those disciplines show that the philosophical basis of Objectivism is as fundamentally wrong as the notions of absolute time and absolute space, or the idea that a particle simultaneously has an exact position and an exact momentum.

    Libertarianism is another and more down-to-earth matter.

    Libertarians are simply people who place great value on personal liberty. They want to realize their values. Well, don’t we all.

    And sometimes, they may succumb to rejecting “inconvenient truths” that they perceive as negating their values, or limiting the realization of their values. Well, don’t we all.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Jun 2010 @ 12:52 PM

  175. Re 156 Timothy Chase – very interesting.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Jun 2010 @ 1:03 PM

  176. Eric, inline response @48:

    Your arguments about non-predictibility is nonsensicle.

    Sorry, Eric, but I can’t resist nominating “nonsensicle” for Internet coinage of the year. As in…

    “His argument was festooned with nonsensicles.”

    “Whilst standing next to his house of cards, he was struck by a falling nonsensicle.”

    …and so forth.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 26 Jun 2010 @ 1:19 PM

  177. Re 160 Edward A. Barkley -

    In the absence of more complex models, relying on simpler models still tells us to expect some amount of warming in response to increasing atmospheric CO2, etc. In the absence of simpler models, conceptual models tell us to expect some amount of warming in response to increasing atmospheric CO2. Looking at the paleoclimatic record and at other planets, the predictions of more basic physics are corroborated.

    We are both asking each other to fund an experiment. Whose is less likely to fail?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Jun 2010 @ 1:29 PM

  178. See
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062502158.html
    “If scientists want to educate the public, they should start by listening”
    A possible tactic.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 Jun 2010 @ 2:54 PM

  179. Kevin McKinney wrote in 174:

    Subjectively–and the irony is noted!-this strikes me as a pretty penetrating analysis, based upon the interactions & conversations I’ve had with such folk. The irony that applies to my response, however, also applies to the process described: in valuing a “concrete-bound understanding of [meta]physics” [my brackets], they essentially value a more subjective thought system [a logically-rigorous but unempirical metaphysics] over a more objective one [relativity.]

    At core, I take the metaphysics to be nothing more nor less than an analysis of the subject/object-relationship for a being possessing volitional awareness in which one begins with the object that one is aware of and not the subject who is aware. The trick is realizing that consciousness discovers itself only in relation to a world that it must discover first. As I view it, the metaphysics is empirical, but it is addressing issues at a very high level of abstraction. So high in fact that by bringing in the Aristotlean distinction between actuality and potentiality it is possible to define truth, justification and belief — the elements in terms of which Plato defined knowledge.

    And as such it lays the abstract foundation for a theory of knowledge. One that integrates the contextuality of coherentialism and both the corrigible knowledge and the low-level, empirical basis of moderate foundationalism where the vast majority of our knowledge is corrigible — and would result in a falliblistic, self-correcting method of awareness.

    It is largely consistent with the sort of synthesis between foundationalism and coherentialism that is argued for by Robert Audi in “Fallibilist Foundationalism and Holistic Coherentialism,” an essay specifically written for inclusion in the anthology “The Theory of Knowledge, Classic and Contemporary Readings” (1993). And I believe this sort of an approach is at least potentially consistent with the scientific method — but it is no longer my life’s project.
    *
    SecularAnimist wrote in 175:

    Timothy Chase wrote: “… as a follower of a libertarian philosophy called Objectivism I learned that existence exists independently of our awareness of it …”

    That’s an assertion that cannot in principle be subjected to empirical observation. It is thus an untestable, unfalsifiable article of faith.

    Sounds like early twentieth century empiricism.

    SecularAnimist continued:

    What exactly is meant by “existence”?

    What if anything is meant by the statement “existence exists”?

    It isn’t possible to define every concept in terms of other concepts without facing an infinite regress or engaging in circular reasoning. Thus some terms must be taken as either basic or fundamental. Nevertheless the are capable of ostensive definition whereby one says, “By existence I mean this” and you point to something, such as a rock. And by “existence exists” one simply means the basic fact that something exists, for if nothing exists then there would be nothing to be aware of, to discuss, and no one to be aware of anything or anyone else to discuss nothing with.

    In any case you might be interested in a paper I wrote for a graduate level course in epistemology. It is a history and critique of early twentieth century empiricism beginning with the similarities that exist between it and Hume and its roots in Kant. It deals with various strains of logical positivism, both operationism and operationalism, gives a fairly conventional critique of Popper and the Principle of Falsifiability and ends with a critique of certain aspects of Quine and his web of belief.

    Please see:

    A Question of Meaning
    http://axismundi.hostzi.com/0/024.php
    *
    Anyway, my primary intent in bringing up Objectivism is first of all to give people some idea of what they are dealing with when they face people who are ideologically opposed to various scientific discoveries and to give those who are so opposed to such discoveries some personal insight. But I am not particularly interested in promoting the philosophy or the movement. For reasons that should be obvious.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Jun 2010 @ 3:46 PM

  180. Eric,

    Thanks very much for the response (#164). I think I was unclear. I agree that sampling from the top end is something you might very well want to do – it might be whether there are real experts (= high publication counts) that interests you. But I think what you say illustrates the way they confound the two things I mentioned at the start of my post. One question is whether the there is simply more super-expertise *in total* in the CE group. Then doing what they do in Fig 2 is fine provided their sample either includes almost all climate scientists, or at least has the proportions of the two groups right. But I don’t see them even really attempting to justify either of these assumptions.

    On the other hand the question might be: “is there a difference in the make-up of the CE group, particularly at the top end; that is, is a random CE person more likely to have say > 500 publications than a random UE one?” This is possibly what they have in mind. Their conclusion was “Thus, this suggests that not all experts are equal, and top CE researchers have much stronger expertise in climate science than those in the top UE group.” I tend to read this as some kind of comparison of the typical top researcher in either group, but maybe I am wrong. My point was simply if that is what they have in mind, what they do is wrong.

    In any case, if they want to say there are more top researchers in total in the CE group, they have to argue that they have got right the relative numbers of the two groups. Otherwise simply adding more to one of the groups (say, finding another signed declaration) will improve how that group does in the figure and will improve the average score. Which emphasises how much these results depend on the selection method they employed.

    Of course as an outsider I hadn’t realised that you all know who some of the people in the graph are, and maybe you all know that there aren’t any other high publishing UE types, so it makes it hard to look at this as an abstract exercise.

    Comment by Roger D. — 26 Jun 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  181. What a tempest in a teapot in the comments!

    Yes please, do think carefully before posting. [When in doubt, cross it out.]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Jun 2010 @ 4:13 PM

  182. Edward A. Barkley (160) — Here is a decadal climate model for you:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530
    in which I even venture a prediction of the global average temperature for the 2010s. But also see Tol, R.S.J. and A.F. de Vos (1998), ‘A Bayesian Statistical Analysis of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect’, Climatic Change, 38, 87-112 for a rather simlilar study, with rather simpilar conclusions from 12 years ago.

    Mine was intentionally simplified (but not overly so) so that many people can replicate it, maybe with their own modifications. Have at it.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Jun 2010 @ 4:17 PM

  183. Nonsensicle: portmanteau word, derived from nonsense and testicle. Meaning: talking a load of [self-edit]!

    Comment by P. Lewis — 26 Jun 2010 @ 4:43 PM

  184. Edward,

    I have a few links that might interest you if you liked that Post story:

    Alan Alda Brings Passion for Communicating Science to Brookhaven Lab

    Truth is in the Bias of the Beholder

    Three Major Reasons Why There is So Much Misinformation

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 26 Jun 2010 @ 4:49 PM

  185. Re 156 Timothy Chase, 175 SecularAnimist -

    Actually I had thought that the concept of an actual reality extending beyond our minds behaving according to some underlying rules independently of what actually happens – ie if the rules do change, it would be according to a more fundamental set of rules – was a sort of ‘default’ mode for most humans attaining a certain age. (Even if there were no rules, then everything would have to be random, which itself would have statistical tendencies and thus appear to conform to rules??? but even beyond that, I think the concept of an objective reality merely requires that if something is true, then it is true, even if it is not known to be true, it can be known that if it were true, then it would be true. Something can easily be sometimes true and sometimes not true, but the key is that the two different ‘sometimes’ are mutually-exclusive. Schrodinger’s cat could be somewhat alive and somewhat dead, but not completely both, right?)

    relativity and quantum physics those disciplines show that the philosophical basis of Objectivism is as fundamentally wrong as the notions of absolute time and absolute space, or the idea that a particle simultaneously has an exact position and an exact momentum.

    But the ways in which space and time are relative and in which a particle cannot have a precise value of both of some number of pairs of variables, etc, could be the reality that Objectivists (and various non-Objectivists)(should) hold as actually existing.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Jun 2010 @ 4:59 PM

  186. Re 179 Edward Greisch

    Mooney is being rather idealistic in that opinion piece. I notice that he didn’t tackle the biggest elephant in the room – evolution – other than to give it a mention once then drop it.

    The evolution education effort in the US has been huge, involved many scientists, and yet only a quarter of Americans fully accept the scientific view in whole. Another quarter accept some sort of theistic evolution, while the remaining half pretty much rejects the science. It has been that way for years even in the face of numerous attempts by scientists to interact with the public.

    There will always be a vested interest in denying AGW. In my opinion scientists should not waste their time fighting all the policy wars as these conflicts will go on without end.

    Comment by Sam Weiss — 26 Jun 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  187. The Post is noting, in passing, a very important fact: propaganda frequently targets elites, not just the unwashed masses.

    Libertarian organizatons sponsored by the fossil fuel interests crusade against “big government,” but people don’t seem to realize that when we have a weak government and lax regulations it means we are being ruled by politicians funded by big business. Please, who voted for EXXON, BP, or Gazprom, a huge and powerful monopoly that pays the bills for the Russian government?

    Really, what opened my “conservative” eyes was reading the tabloid Pravda and watching Russia Today mock the “plots” of climate scientists. When I hear that sort of thing in Russia, I know what it is; and Russian media sound exactly like Fox News and the Telegraph—”Hoax of the century” and all that. Pravda sometimes quotes Fox News. Elderly Russian scientists are trotted out in the fossil-fuel-owned media to debunk global warming. Just like in America. I don’t think the Russian media reflects the views of their best young scientists. They certainly are studying global warming because the gas and oil infrastructure is sitting in a thawing permafrost. Arctic sea lanes are opening up. That’s hard for Russians to miss.

    I always considered myself a moderate Republican, but when I saw that Fox and Inhofe sounded exactly like the Russian media on the topic of Climategate, the alarm bells went off in my head.

    I checked the US government science sites and saw that the science of global warming was well-accepted. Who am I going to believe, the tabloid Pravda or my own country’s scientists?

    Comment by Snapple — 26 Jun 2010 @ 5:05 PM

  188. Remember how Dr. Phil Jones supposedly said there was no global warming in recent years? He actually said there was no “statistially significant” global warming, but people don’t know what that means. He was trying to be very precise, but he didn’t communicate.

    I explained statistically significant to my friends in terms of a diet. If I weigh myself every hour for a day, at the end of the day I really can’t tell if I have gained or lost weight. There are too many variables or too much “noise” as you scientists would say.

    But if I weigh myself every day for a year, there may be some ups and downs, but a trend will be statistically significant.

    Comment by Snapple — 26 Jun 2010 @ 5:51 PM

  189. I’m sure Chris Mooney means well, but I really get tired of him telling us that we must pander to the myths of the Great Unwashed if we want to convince them that scientists know what they’re talking about. Yes, we can get better at communicating science–but that means telling them what the science says, not reassuring them in their ignorance.

    And right now the biggest obstacle to communicating science is the media. Media outlets are owned by billionaires and run on a shoestring. They pander to the basest prejudices of their readership so as not to lose them. Reporters are so scared of losing their jobs they don’t even bother to report news. And increasingly, they demand to be spoonfed stories rather than actually learning something themselves. The US founding fathers recognized how critical a free press was for a democracy. It is a pity that “free” has come to mean free of any obligation to print the truth.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jun 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  190. Patrick 027, Secular Animist, Kevin McKinney

    I think we may be straying a bit from climatology. My fault, of course.

    If any of you would be interested in continuing discussions, I myself might be a little slow to respond at times, but we could create an email list or wave list. I know how to create wave lists — and nowadays it is a lot faster even on the big waves, you have the ability to create links, etc..

    Patrick 027 — there is something else I would like to check with you about as well — more climate-related though.

    Anyway, if any of you are interested contact me at timothychase at gmail dottish com.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Jun 2010 @ 6:24 PM

  191. 48, Edward Barkley,
    You are confusing 20-20 hindsight with predictability. You also seem to be confused about the scientific method. By the way, being a skeptical but reasonable person is critical to being a good scientist. The trick is not to take the skepticism too far. I clearly think most of who are being called denialists are in fact still well within reasonable skeptical bounds, although there are some off the track on both sides of the issue.

    Comment by Leonard Weinstein — 26 Jun 2010 @ 6:41 PM

  192. “Hypothesis 2a: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and involve a diverse range of first order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades.”

    Some natural causes of climate variations – rearrangement of continental land masses by plate tectonics, silicate weathering removing CO2 from the atmosphere, long term changes in solar output (“dim sun paradox”), Milankovic orbital changes, CO2 exchange with the deep ocean – operate too slowly to explain the increase in temperature seen (HadCRUT, GISS) since 1900 and confirmed by more recent satellite (UAH) measurements.

    The natural causes of climate variations that have time scales (century, decadal; e.g. Schwabe sunspot cycles, average solar output during the satellite measuring era, , ENSO/PDO/AMO and the rest of the alphabet soup of “oscillations”, volcanism) either don’t capture energy over multiple cycles – if I push a child on a swing, his average position doesn’t move away from me – or are going in the wrong direction.

    If the first order human climate forcings (e.g., agriculture & deforestation changes in methane emissions, albedo, and aerosols) other than CO2 emissions are positive and the same order of magnitude as CO2, then the CO2 sensitivity must be lower. However, those forcings weren’t operative during the transition from ice age to interglacial; in order to explain the amplification necessary (rate and magnitude) for the small slow changes in solar influence due to Milankovic cycles to result in the rapid(compared to the descent into an ice age) transition to an interglacial, CO2 sensitivity must be higher. One might posit that CO2 sensitivity decreases more than logarithmically with concentration, but that would preclude the 50-100,000 year PETM event.
    The first order human forcings that are negative (e.g., sulphate emissions) and mask some of the CO2 forcing increase the risks of AGW; if they decrease because of Peak Oil, or economic changes, or are eliminated because of other adverse effects they have, the warming impact of the CO2 we’re adding to the atmosphere will be even larger. Some interesting questions arise – how will expected AGW changes such as increases in weather extremes interact with agriculture to amplify or diminish warming – are albedo changes due to agriculture warming or masking, and how will that change with floods or drought? – will soot and other particulate emissions(brown clouds) from developing economies interact with increased humidity to amplify heavy rainfall events?

    “There is no democracy in physics. We can’t say that some second-rate guy has as much right to opinion as Fermi.”
    — Luis W. Alvarez

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 26 Jun 2010 @ 6:57 PM

  193. Anyone who read Ayn Rand as a kid was missing all the fun. Robert Heinlein was a much better writer. Of course, we grow up and put away childish things. Unfortunately, some like Alan Greenspan take longer to do so.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 26 Jun 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  194. I could never read Ayn rand. Her prose was turgid, her plot lines thin and her philosophy was utter naive-realist garbabe. Anyone who has studied quantum mechanics would laugh at the very notion of “objectivism,” let alone Objectivism.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Jun 2010 @ 8:31 PM

  195. EAB 160,

    Go look up what the cake said to Alice.

    I don’t care what your scientific credentials are. Tom van Flandern was a Ph.D. astronomer with a huge reputation in celestial mechanics, but he was still a flaming crackpot. And do I have to mention William Pearce?

    If you disagree that

    1) Global warming is happening,
    2) It is anthropogenic, and
    3) It is a serious threat to our civilization,

    then the quality of your beliefs on the subject are akin to believing in creationism, or the idea that aliens built the pyramids.

    BTW, the temperature rise is entirely consistent with the range of Hansen’s predictions, especially Scenario B. Is the trend lower? Sure. Do you understand what a confidence level is? A standard deviation? How to invalidate a null hypothesis? For a scientist, you seem strangely ignorant of statistics.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Jun 2010 @ 9:16 PM

  196. Sam Weiss 187: There will always be a vested interest in denying AGW. In my opinion scientists should not waste their time fighting all the policy wars as these conflicts will go on without end.

    BPL: If scientists don’t get involved, the end that will come will involve trucks and trains no longer bringing food into cities. Rationing lines. Starvation. Plague. The collapse of civilization.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Jun 2010 @ 9:29 PM

  197. Ein Reich, ein Volk, Ayn Rand!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Jun 2010 @ 9:35 PM

  198. Eli Rabett wrote in 194:

    Anyone who read Ayn Rand as a kid was missing all the fun. Robert Heinlein was a much better writer. Of course, we grow up and put away childish things.

    Heinlein… For some reason Moira never really wanted me to read his stuff. Something about it giving me funny ideas.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Jun 2010 @ 9:36 PM

  199. “Schrodinger’s cat could be somewhat alive and somewhat dead, but not completely both, right?”

    I mean of course, the same cat at the same time along the same branch of an Everett-style multiverse…

    ————————————-

    Re 190 Ray Ladbury, 187 Sam Weiss, Snapple (the best stuff on Earth, I presume), 179 Edward Greisch concerning http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062502158.html

    About halfway down the first page my reaction to
    In other words, it appears that politics comes first on such a contested subject, and better information is no cure-all — people are likely to simply strain it through an ideological sieve.
    was that such a straining in fact prevents better information from penetrating it’s (from the point of view of a hopeful educator) target. Better information would help but if people refuse to take it, what are you gonna do (besides building up a political majority and then forcing the relevant policies on the unbelievers, which ultimately is what will happen, of course).

    However, farther along I realized a different take – the advocates of sensibility may get farther by better identifying the source of the bias or motivator of the willful ignorance and addressing that directly. However, that’s not necessarily a job for the scientists – or at least, it’s a not that a scientist could necessarily do as simply a scientist – whoever does it may have to put on his philosopher (of politics/ethics and morality/economics)/theologian/historian’s cap.

    For example, with evolution, one could get at the problem by pointing out that 1. if God created nature (as you, the person being engaged in disussion, presumably believes), then why should the theory of evolution as a natural process be offensive to a belief in God. 2. Why would evolution by natural processes imply anything particularly fundamental about morality? Niether the idea that humans evolved naturally without a devine plan, or with a devine plan but without direct intervention, nor the idea that God might not exist, should change the fact that people are people, they experience pleasure and pain, have desires and goals, hopes and dreams, and are generally an amazing and precious thing, each one, etc. If morality is truly moral, God would not be able to change right-from-wrong on a whim; if it is good then it is good, and God is good because God knows what good is and wants it; things are not good because God declares it so; God recognizes what is good because it is good and God knows what good is. If God came truly before all else than logic and morality must actually be part of God, and many atheists would therefore believe in at least that part of God because they accept logic and believe in morality. (3. one could get into the real history of the you-know-what if necessary – also for benifit of Glen Beck, empathy was not the cause (it’s ironic he’s come that close to implying that Jesus is you-know-who))

    It may be possible to do this without pretending to be something your not (a religious person, for whom that would apply) – for example ‘I am not a religious person, but if I were, I would think of it like this…’.

    A problem could arise with biblical literalists, but one could address that by suggesting that some fictional stories have great value in teaching some lesson or illuminating some aspect of the ‘human (or other sentient being) condition’, and also address actual historical events in the translation of the bible – or one could be more abbrassive and ask ‘do you believe deaf people can’t be saved’ (see one of Paul’s letters, and the history of the Catholic Church) – oh, you don’t – so when you said you were a literalist, you were speaking figuratively?’ (Or am I taking the concept of literalist too literally :) ?)

    Another matter is the probability of things turning out as they have; but one can point out that any specific outcome may be unlikely, but some outcome has to occur. If rather different intelligent beings had evolved, they might ponder why they didn’t end up like two-legged… etc. … beings that we’ll call ‘humans’. Why am I not you?

    ————-

    I suppose with AGW, one would have to take economic philosphy head-on, taking note of what is actually fair (it’s not fair just because you like it or because that’s how it has been** – also important for political issues in general).

    (But first, note the distinctions among: science of climate, study of economic effects of climate change, effects of public policy on both and the morality of that.)

    One would have to point out that 1. an otherwise ideal market loses efficiency from externalities, which actually pertains to property rights; it makes sense for the government to actually protect such rights to property and life (except for some who would want a privatized police force etc.?). Externalities may be addressed by either a tax/credit or some other public policy, public ownership and management of the commons, or privatization of the commons, or through court actions – each option may have it’s own costs – for example, the large-scale privatization of the climate system may be impractical with given technology (analogy with toll roads), and even without that, it has at least an aesthetic cost (nature is supposed to be nature; and psychologically, humans may benifit from some amount of public space) and perhaps scientific (ie nature – in this context, nature as it is with relatively small impacts of humankind – is not nature if it is not being itself) costs; there may be inefficiencies in the court system that could be bypassed for issues that are easily addressed with legislation (unless we had a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all people now until the year). Any method of addressing an externality may have various costs (directly economical and otherwise – bureaucracy and possibility of corruption, etc.) and some might not have a net ‘profit’; the most ‘profitable’ (including morality) option should be pursued (legislation and enforcement options that are less corruptable and more efficient would be preferable). (Wait, we can’t legislate morality? Then why is murder illegal? Also, quite ironically considering the issue here, see what George Will said on “This Week” concerning Rand Paul’s position on civil rights). Even if the externality doesn’t have a clear overall net public cost, if it has signficant costs to some portion of the public, then it is an issue of fairness and rights. Note that while, legally, rights might not apply equally internationally, morally, if the rights are good rights to have, then we should act like they do apply, except wherein there is some problem in that which justifies a different position (ie different national policies, international treaties – such that require different treatment in order to achieve justice).

    Given that, if one wants freedom of choice and an efficient market, shouldn’t one accept a market solution (tax/credit or analogous system based on public costs, applied strategically to minimize paperwork (don’t tax residential utility bills – apply upstream instead), applied approximately fairly to both be fair and encourage an efficient market response (don’t ignore any significant category, put all sources of the same emission on equal footing; if cap/trade, allow some exchange between CO2 and CH4, etc, based CO2(eq); include ocean acidification, etc.), allowing some approximation to that standard so as to not get very high costs in dealing with small details and also to address the biggest, most-well understood effects and sources first (put off dealing with the costs and benifits of sulphate aerosols, etc, until later if necessary – but get at high-latitude black carbon right away)? Does policy impact your choices? Yes? But the policy reflects costs and benifits, and this (shaped by scarcity) always has this affect on your choices. It is not truly an attack on freedoms.

    Ideally, all emissions globally should be taxed/regulated equally and apportioned according to where public costs are realized or to those investing in mitigation efforts, etc; absent that, there could be an agreement to allow countries to put tariffs/subsidies on imports/exports according to associated emissions and differences between national policies.

    Of course, there are other problems with a market that may make it’s performance less than ideal. Still, it may make sense to start with policies based on the efficient-market concept (tax/credit), which should tend to have a desired effect (while markets are imperfect, it’s not like they’re worse than randomness; perhaps the efficient market concept is a little bit like the quasi-geostrophic approximation applied to midlatitude synoptic scale systems – intense cyclones (large Ro) will require corrections, but it’s a good place to start.). Other problems (concavities in the PPC and the benifits of public planning (simplest example: drive on one side of the road), negative sum games (role in the housing bubble?), entrenched behavior and slow market learning, other stuff) could be addressed with auxiliary policies (building codes (including, contingent on economics and local climate and landscaping, skylights, solar water heatings, solar cells), incentives for certain kinds of technology and infrastructure arrangements, public coordination of changes, public support for emerging industries/businesses to compensate for mass-market advantage (including accelerated effort to evaluate environmental or other impacts for potential renewable power plant or HVDC line sites, so that the industries have a map of where they can work), R&D (both for the previous purpose and also for a general maintenance of ‘technodiversity’ so as to have options in the event that problems are discovered with a economically-successful technology. (Note that at least some of these programs can be phased out once the economy has shifted, allowing market behavior to take-over.) This also applies to an important strategic value in how developing countries develope – they can avoid legacy costs by making some choices earlier rather than later, but they may need help; it is in developed countries’ interest to do this.

    These types of solutions may be harder to stomach for the libertarian (? but again, some/many could tend to be structured as incentives that would have a market response, rather than orders), but if the libertarian were willing to support these things, they might be able to encourage lawmakers to actually do sensible things rather than ‘greenwashing’ or building ‘CFLs to nowhere’ or whatever problems could arise (if a larger political majority supports some overall goal, then the legislators might be under less pressure to cut costly deals to win-over special interests or opponents! (I actually would consider placing some of the blame on conservatives for such issues that might arise in the health care bill). A conceivable danger is that, as with big fossil fuel, big corn, military equipment manufacturers, etc, now, a clean energy and efficiency lobby could conceivably develop to maintain subsidies beyond their justification. But then again, what was the justification for the more stupid subsidies we have now? Were they (aside from the military stuff- the problem there has been, so far as I know, the way in which the industry has been structured in response to the public-private dynamic, not the lack of general need for military equipment) ever as significant or real as the justification for public support for a shift to a cleaner more efficient energy economy now? (PS how many of those libertarians benifit from and would defend those subsidies?) And why must we accept such a trajectory? If the libertarians could prevent sensible action now, why couldn’t they prevent nonsense actions later?

    ** true, because people play a game based on the rules as stated (so far as they’ve been told those rules), there can be an inherent level of fairness in not changing the rules, but if the unfairness or other problems in not changing the rules would persist for a long time, then it can be better to change the rules; some phasing in of the changes over time can help alleviate shocks to the economy and in some cases, som compensation may be offered to those who are giving something up (but preferably not the sort of compensation that actually erodes the purpose of the change in the rules).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Jun 2010 @ 9:44 PM

  200. The natural causes of climate variations that have relevant time scales (century, decadal…

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 26 Jun 2010 @ 9:59 PM

  201. … “These types of solutions may be harder to stomach for the libertarian”

    Actually, though, perhaps libertarians could get behind some (maybe not all) of the reforms to agricultural policy that would be helpful to the economy in general, the food supply, healthcare, and mitigation and adaptation regarding climate change.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Jun 2010 @ 10:22 PM

  202. “The natural causes of climate variations that have relevant time scales (century, decadal…”

    Brian, on which time scale do the current variations exceed the natural noise, measured by the same method and in a homogeneous way, and by how many sigmas ?

    [Response: By about 3 sigma on decadal timescales. See Fig 9.5. - gavin]

    Comment by Gilles — 27 Jun 2010 @ 1:19 AM

  203. @Barton + RC moderators, re 198:

    I find Barton’s remark to be well over the top. Perhaps meant to be funny, but most decidedly inappropriate.

    Comment by Marco — 27 Jun 2010 @ 1:43 AM

  204. Eric, you should be wearing “activist” as a bad of courage. Just doing the science is not good enough anymore with the stakes so high. The world needs more scientist-activists because the message is not getting out with just “science”.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 25 June 2010 @ 10:03 AM

    Galasyn deleted my comment to this affect, assuming an insult where =none was offered. Let me reinforce this to the utmost, for it cannot be stated strongly enough. We are passing thresholds, very nasty thresholds, and we need scientists to do more than inform and debate. Whether a fair request or not is irrelevant. Climate is changing faster than even I imagined, and I’m about as “alarmist” as one can get.

    Max temp records set in seven nations recently, three months of global temp records.

    Time’s up. It’s pretty much now or never.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 27 Jun 2010 @ 2:01 AM

  205. Doug Bostrom says:
    25 June 2010 at 6:22 PM
    Gerard:

    “I highly doubt this paper would have survived actual peer review.

    Gerard, you’d be more credible if you were aware of some elementary facts, such as that Anderegg’s paper was in fact reviewed prior to publication according to PNAS’ normal process.”

    According to some, you are wrong about peer review of this paper. It is indicated by others that the paper could bypass peer review because one of the authors being a member of NAS has the right to publish without undergoing peer review (namely Schneider). Apparently this is a privilege accorded to members of the National Academy of Sciences for publication in PNAS.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 27 Jun 2010 @ 4:33 AM

  206. BPL@198:

    WIN!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jun 2010 @ 7:01 AM

  207. @173 Marco
    Why would you assume anything about my thoughts on Inhofe based on what I wrote about Anderegg? Must everyone be a ‘UE’ or a ‘CE’? Bias much?

    @168 dhogaza
    …for citing any unreliable source. Indexing literature doesn’t make the search engine reliable, even if it is scientific literature. The authors acknowledge the problems; papers they cite discuss the problems.

    @170 RickG
    Obtuse, how so? IMO the paper is junk. By their own methods this junk would increase the authors’ “expertise.” That’s ironic.

    Comment by pasteur — 27 Jun 2010 @ 7:12 AM

  208. Pasteur #166, as one who has used both Google Scholar and ISI Thomson, I can tell you that they give similar results, showing both to be legitimate instruments for measuring what they do. This is mentioned in the paper too. ISI isn’t without its problems either, in spite of being more established — and somehow I just know you would have highlighted those has they chosen to use ISI… while whining about the choice of a non-free service.

    You’re the one being disingenuous my friend.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Jun 2010 @ 8:39 AM

  209. Richard Steckis says: 27 June 2010 at 4:33 AM

    According to some, you are wrong about peer review of this paper. It is indicated by others that the paper could bypass peer review…

    Yeah? Well, maybe some are wrong and ought to check their facts. Here’s what I see on PNAS concerning Anderegg’s paper:

    (sent for review December 22, 2009)

    Impressionism is not the only school of rhetorical art, fortunately. We can also resort to realist depictions. Why listen to “some” and worry about what “others” think when we can simply read PNAS’ submission and review policies directly?

    PNAS Submission Guidelines
    The standard mode of transmitting manuscripts is for authors to submit them directly to PNAS. Authors must recommend three appropriate Editorial Board members, three NAS members who are expert in the paper’s scientific area, and five qualified referees. The Board may choose someone who is or is not on that list or may reject the paper without further review. A directory of PNAS member editors and their research interests is available at http://nrc88.nas.edu/pnas_search. The editor may obtain reviews of the paper from at least two qualified referees, each from a different institution and not from the authors’ institutions. For direct submission papers, the PNAS Office will invite the referees, secure the reviews, and forward them to the editor. The PNAS Office will also secure any revisions and subsequent reviews. The name of the editor, who may remain anonymous to the author until the paper is accepted, will be published in PNAS as editor of the article. Papers submitted directly are published as “Edited by” the responsible editor and have an additional identifying footnote.

    Academy members who have told authors they are willing to oversee the review process have 48 hours from the time of submission to alert the PNAS Office to their request. During this period the PNAS Office will contact the member to confirm. Authors should coordinate submission to ensure the member is available. The Board cannot guarantee that the member designated by the author will be assigned the manuscript or that it will be sent for review. Throughout the review process authors are not permitted to contact the editor directly and all correspondence must be sent through the PNAS office. The standard submission process does not require a prearranged editor. Papers submitted with a prearranged editor are published with a footnote.

    An Academy member may “communicate” for others up to two manuscripts per year that are within the member’s area of expertise. Beginning July 1, 2010, we will no longer accept communicated submissions. Before submission to PNAS, the member obtains reviews of the paper from at least two qualified referees, each from a different institution and not from the authors’ institutions. Referees should be asked to evaluate revised manuscripts to ensure that their concerns have been adequately addressed. The names and contact information, including e-mails, of referees who reviewed the paper, along with the reviews and the authors’ response, must be included. Reviews must be submitted on the PNAS review form, and the identity of the referees must not be revealed to the authors. The member must include a brief statement endorsing publication in PNAS along with all of the referee reports received for each round of review. Members must select referees who have not collaborated with the authors in the past 48 months. See Section iii for the full conflict of interest policy. Members must verify that referees are free of conflicts of interest, or must disclose any conflicts and explain their choice of referees. These papers are published as “Communicated by” the responsible editor.

    An Academy member may submit up to four of his or her own manuscripts for publication per year. The member must have made a significant contribution to the work to warrant authorship and the subject matter must be within the member’s own area of expertise. Contributed articles must report the results of original research. A special obligation applies to a Contributed paper for which the member or coauthors disclose a significant financial or other competing interest in the work. Since January 2009, we no longer consider such submissions using the contributed route. Members who disclose a significant conflict of interest must submit their manuscripts using standard direct submission. When submitting using the contributed process, members must secure the comments of at least two qualified referees. Referees should be asked to evaluate revised manuscripts to ensure that their concerns have been adequately addressed. Members’ submissions must be accompanied by the names and contact information, including e-mails, of knowledgeable colleagues who reviewed the paper, along with all of the reviews received and the authors’ response for each round of review, and a brief statement endorsing publication in PNAS. Reviews must be on the PNAS review form. Members must select referees who have not collaborated with the authors in the past 48 months. See Section iii for the full conflict of interest policy. Members must verify that referees are free of conflicts of interest, or must disclose any conflicts and explain their choice of referees. The Academy member must be a corresponding author on the paper. These papers are published as “Contributed by” the responsible editor.

    All manuscripts are evaluated by the Editorial Board. The Board may reject manuscripts without further review or may subject manuscripts to review and reject those that do not meet PNAS standards. Manuscripts rejected by one member cannot be resubmitted through another member or as a direct submission. When revisions are requested prior to final decision, revised papers must be received within 2 months or they will be treated as new submissions.

    PNAS Information for Authors

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Jun 2010 @ 8:57 AM

  210. [Response: By about 3 sigma on decadal timescales. See Fig 9.5. - gavin]

    sorry Gavin, I’m ready to believe you, but I don’t see on the figure 9.5 any period T on which the variation is statistically outside the distribution of variations in the past.

    I mean : if you choose a given period T, and you compute the average slope on this period, is the most recent period statistically outside the distribution of slopes computed in the past ? i don’t see that on the figure.

    [Response: What you mean is that nothing I say or show will make any difference. We discussed attribution last month, if you didn't get it then,me repeating it is not going to change anything. Argument for argument sake is pointless. - gavin]

    Comment by Gilles — 27 Jun 2010 @ 9:02 AM

  211. @Richard Steckis #206:
    “According to some” being those who want to cast doubt on the study, just so they can dismiss its findings. The paper was peer-reviewed, as clearly noted on the paper itself (“sent for review December 22″). Also, on collide-a-scape there was a reaction from one of the reviewers (through another person). Finally, as noted on the PNAS website, papers that are “communicated” (or “contributed”, yet another possibility) by a PNAS Editorial Board Member are *also* required to be reviewed.

    @pasteur #173:
    You were the one who complained about a blacklist. You fail to realise that the ‘blacklist’ consists of TWO lists (one UE, the other CE), so one can wonder why only one should be seen as a “blacklist”. Both lists were made by the scientists themselves signing activist statements. They *themselves* are responsible for being on a list. All Jim Prall did was combine the various lists into one bigger one. And suddenly this is to be perceived as something horrible? I have not seen you (nor many others) complain about the Inhofe list, which notably is a list where the scientists often did *not* sign up themselves. In fact, requests to be removed were not even granted in various cases. See a difference here?

    Comment by Marco — 27 Jun 2010 @ 9:10 AM

  212. Marco: I find Barton’s remark to be well over the top. Perhaps meant to be funny, but most decidedly inappropriate.

    BPL: People deserve respect until they demonstrate otherwise. Ideas do not. Ayn Rand certainly does not. I didn’t insult any poster here, aside from any supersensitive “Objectivists” who might feel that I committed blasphemy.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Jun 2010 @ 9:25 AM

  213. Thanks, Ray. :)

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Jun 2010 @ 9:26 AM

  214. Richard Steckis #206:

    It is indicated by others that the paper could bypass peer review because one of the authors being a member of NAS has the right to publish without undergoing peer review (namely Schneider).

    According to the Instructions to Authors, a Contributed paper (which this is, by Schneider) should be reviewed by two “qualified referees”. Which may be picked by Schneider — the only privilege a NAS member has. And if he too transparently would pick his buddies or they wouldn’t do a proper job, the Editorial Board (who get to see the review file) can still stop the paper. Not a risk worth taking.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Jun 2010 @ 9:44 AM

  215. Richard Steckis @206,

    “According to some, you are wrong about peer review of this paper. It is indicated by others that the paper could bypass peer review because one of the authors being a member of NAS has the right to publish without undergoing peer review (namely Schneider).”

    They are mistaken Richard. Please read #150 and follow the links provided.

    Comment by MapleLeaf — 27 Jun 2010 @ 9:53 AM

  216. …and according to the paper, it was sent for review December 22, 2009.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Jun 2010 @ 9:54 AM

  217. There seems to be a lack of similar outrage from Eric & Gavin about the fossil fuel industry working with the American Petroleum Institute to develop a whitelist of approved scientists for media interviews, then giving that list to media executives and having them direct reporters to these sources.

    Now that a study has been published on this, there’s outrage? That seems rather odd. I do understand that the scientists at realclimate state that they don’t want to get involved in political or policy debates, just scientific debates – but by rushing to the defense of the whitelisted / blacklisted groups who refuse to accept the facts about global warming, they’ve just entered the political arena.

    The paper hasn’t been questioned on merits, methodology, etc. The conclusions seems sound – so what is it? The motivation of the researchers involved is problematic, is that it? The comments on the “failure of a free society” seem outlandish, too.

    [Response: Ike, just to be clear we a) don't say - and don't believe - that there is anything fundamentally wrong with the Anderegg et al. paper. I'm not convinced it is very good, and I am very concerned about the way it cavalierly yet obscurely is linked with the Prall list on the web. Yes, of course I am annoyed by the API, and Gavin probably is too, but we can't be writing something every time a political organization does something political. RealClimate is fundamentally a science blog, whatever anyone else claims about it. We get into the politics when scientists (or people presenting something as science) get it wrong, or when direct attacks on the science we are experts in need to be addressed.--eric]

    Comment by Ike Solem — 27 Jun 2010 @ 10:41 AM

  218. @Barton,

    I think references to the Third Reich (and that *is* what you did) more than just insulting to objectivists. I’m not an Ayn Rand fan (in fact, I haven’t read a darn thing written by Rand), but have some problems with the gratitious references to the nazis.

    Comment by Marco — 27 Jun 2010 @ 10:52 AM

  219. Timothy Chase wrote: “… my primary intent in bringing up Objectivism is first of all to give people some idea of what they are dealing with when they face people who are ideologically opposed to various scientific discoveries and to give those who are so opposed to such discoveries some personal insight.”

    It would certainly seem that the very idea of “ideological opposition to various scientific discoveries” would be be diametrically opposed to the stated principles of a philosophy that styles itself “Objectivist” and proclaims that (in your words) “the root of all sin lies in evasion — the refusal to know”.

    The source of this apparent paradox can be found in the fact that Objectivism is anything but “objective”.

    Objectivism is in essence a philosophy that was “reverse engineered” from Ayn Rand’s subjective value system, in order to claim that her particular personal values were “objectively” correct and true and good, and that other values were “objectively” wrong and false and evil. Objectivism begins with Ayn Rand’s personal values, and works backwards from there to establish what sort of reality — in particular what sort of facts about human nature — would be required to prove that her values are the “right” ones because they are in accord with those facts. It then simply proclaims those facts to be true. It is thus an anti-empirical philosophy.

    And Ayn Rand’s own writings are full of instances where she rejects or ignores actual empirical facts, particularly facts about human nature, that falsify the assertions that underly her claims to “objective” moral superiority. Denial of “inconvenient truths” is not an aberration from Objectivism, it is the essence of Objectivism.

    And really, “philosophical” discussion such as this does not begin to convey the depth and breadth of Objectivism. To fully appreciate this philosophy, one must read Rand’s essays in which she proclaims that the types of art and music she likes are not only objectively superior to other types of art and music, but are morally superior. For example, photo-realistic painting is morally right, whereas impressionism and abstraction are immoral, because they represent the “sin” of “evasion”. Similarly, diatonic, melodic music is “moral” and atonal music is “immoral”.

    And of course one must note that in Ayn Rand’s fiction, the most horrible fates are reserved not for the cartoonish “collectivist” villains, but for the characters who of their own free will and choice, devote their energies to helping the unfortunate — because, you see, altruism is “self-immolation” and is “objectively” evil.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 27 Jun 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  220. Timothy Chase wrote: “… my primary intent in bringing up Objectivism is first of all to give people some idea of what they are dealing with when they face people who are ideologically opposed to various scientific discoveries and to give those who are so opposed to such discoveries some personal insight.”

    I don’t know if the moderators will permit my previous “philosophical” comment which was verbosely critical of Objectivism, but in defense of Objectivism in the context of AGW denialism, it is my observation that the overwhelming majority of denialists who claim or appear to be “ideologically opposed to various scientific discoveries” are not operating on the basis of any such intellectual framework as Objectivism.

    Rather, they are operating on the basis of believing, saying and doing whatever they are told to believe, say and do by the so-called “conservative” media which spoon-feeds them a steady stream of corporate-sponsored, Madison Avenue-scripted, focus-group-tested, pseudo-scientific, pseudo-ideological drivel, that has no purpose but protecting the profits of the fossil fuel corporations, that has little real content other than hatred of “liberals”, and has about as much to do with actual intellectual traditions like Objectivism and Libertarianism as the Three Stooges have to do with Shakespeare.

    It’s one thing to read and appreciate the voluminous, wide-ranging, sometimes challenging writings of Ayn Rand and to be so moved by them as to find one’s personal philosophy and world view strongly shaped by them.

    It’s quite another thing to tune in Rush Limbaugh and say “Ditto That!”

    And AGW denialism owes more to Rush than to Ayn Rand.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 27 Jun 2010 @ 11:54 AM

  221. @Eric,

    Well, I suppose the practical issue here is related to this:

    IPCC, key target of war on climate science, announces 831 experts to author Fifth Assessment Report

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has announced its selection of 831 authors and review editors for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report to be published in 2013-2014. In light of the denial machine’s war on climate science, which seeks to delegitimize the IPCC and lay a predicate for rejecting any unwelcome conclusions of the forthcoming reports, we expect they will find a way to challenge the author selection and subsequent steps of the IPCC process.

    Let’s say the Stanford methodology is applied to all the scientists involved in the IPCC. What would it find? Would that be useful, or misleading?

    The interesting question is this: is this a sound methodology for identifying reliable experts in a given scientific field? This is an important question for science journalists. For example, right now, science journalists who are covering the Gulf spill need to identify experts in the various issues – biodiversity impacts, toxicology, ocean currents, deepwater engineering issues – how do they go about it? How do they know they haven’t been set up with some quack hired by the fossil fuel lobby to spin the story?

    Rather than trusting whitelists or blacklists of “media-trained scientists” provided by others, science journalists should try andto find the experts for themselves. They’d get more interesting stories that way, that’s for sure.

    In the long run of course the original scientific work itself is what matters, not the conclusions of committees. The real value of the IPCC is that it collects and organizes all that work in one convenient location, minus the most recent work. However, PR types like to attack the IPCC, rather than the original scientific work – because the latter is pretty conclusive, and they’d lose the argument.

    Regardless, if someone got their hands on the American Petroleum Institute whitelist of acceptable scientists for media interviews, publishing it would not be an assault on scientific freedom, in my opinion. I imagine it’s a carefully guarded secret, though.

    [Response:Ike. You make many good points, and I agree in general. Regarding whether it would be o.k. to make public the API's 'whitelist of acceptable scientists', yes, I suppose I would agree, but it would depend very much on how it was used. Criticizing (or for that matter applauding) their choices might be reasonable. Claiming that the list is anything other than API's opinion would not be. Of course, all of this gets into the questionable territory of what one does with private information, that one uses illegal means to obtain in the first place. Releasing the Watergate information was important, justified, and ethical. That doesn't mean all other such instances are comparable. I'm not saying this is simple, but I simply don't buy into the argument that 'any information, no matter the source and no matter how dubious the information, should be disseminated as widely as possible', which is essentially the excuse I hear for Prall et al. on the one hand and 'cclimategate' emails on the other. Everyone has to make their own ethical decisions, but for me, it requires more thought than simply appealing to laissez faire.--eric]

    Comment by Ike Solem — 27 Jun 2010 @ 11:57 AM

  222. Barton Paul Levenson wrote in 198:

    Ein Reich, ein Volk, Ayn Rand!

    Ray Ladbury wrote in 207:

    BPL@198:

    WIN!

    I thought it was funny.

    Anyway, I will say this in a little more detail at the end, but my point wasn’t to promote Objectivism or defend it — but to explain what it is to some small extent — because it has played a very big role in the creation of the Libertarian movement, and the Libertarian movement is one of the two major factors in opposition to recognizing the threat that anthropogenic global warming poses and to getting countries to do anything about it.
    *
    The movement has it’s hardliners wing — lead by an organization called ARI. Then something that was called the Institute for Objectivist Studies, then there is the Jefferson School and even the Libertarianz of New Zealand, and I am sure there are more — it has been a decade since I was involved. Usually the ARI people can’t get along with anyone other than themselves.

    They are strongly focused on there being one and only one Objectivism — maintaining its “consistency” as a coherent system — partly because they are only gradually developing it as a “technical” system and presumably they want to do things right — which was made exceedingly difficult as it got developed at a popularized level first — trying to change the world. They are the most cultish of the various branches and will often get called “Randroids” even by other Objectivists.

    One of the points I have made before on various occasions is that fundamentally totalitarianism isn’t really political — at least not in the sense that people mean the term “political.” It is psychological — it is about controlling the minds of others. It is about insuring that the individual has one and only one frame of reference — one and only one conceptual framework through which to view the world. And in this sense all cults are totalitarian. Even the libertarian ones. And I thought it was applicable to Objectivism and even said so — openly, when I was still active in the movement.
    *
    Oh — and when I suggested the possibility of an email list I was actually hoping that no one would take me up on it. I don’t have the time. (Got to get a career going — and if I am not doing programming or focusing on climatology in one forum or another I would rather be studying the role of retroelements in evolution.) And this is what I expected and got. But it seemed the easiest way to bring discussion of Objectivism and philosophy to an end. For those who may not have noticed it can be something of a hotspot.
    *
    However, Ray — you are wrong about the naive realism. Assuming you are speaking of perception, Objectivism normally distinguishes between the form and the object of awareness — where the form is the way in which the object is grasped. David Kelley developed that at length in “The Evidence of the Senses” and admits that he got the distinction from Rand.

    Absolute space and time? As far as I know Rand never got into that — although others have, unfortunately. Causality? That was a mess. Arguing against the probabilistic causation that exists at the quantum level — and thus evidently for causal necessity, but then also arguing for volition — in which free choice is the is the ability to choose between two potential courses of action in which either may be equally actualizable. This isn’t chance, but it isn’t compatible with a world that acts strictly in accordance with causal necessity, either.

    Likewise, Kelley (the fellow who lead the Institute for Objectivist Studies) had problems simply in terms of conceptualizing error from a realist perspective on cognition. I called him on it at one point and he said that there was an answer to the problem — which he would get around to telling people some day.
    *
    Your criticisms of Rand’s fiction writing? I disagree, but a lot of people would agree — and as far as I am concerned I don’t see it as something we need to argue about — here or anywhere else.

    Beyond that?

    As I indicated above, I wasn’t exactly my intention to be defending a system or movement that I was criticizing. And this wouldn’t be the forum for it anyway. But opposition to doing something about anthropogenic global warming comes largely (although not entirely) from two different sources: fossil fuel interests and the ideology of libertarianism.

    And I don’t think that someone can really understand libertarianism without having some understanding of where that came from. Objectivism, to some extent the Austrian School of economics — and to a lesser extent other authors, including even Robert Heinlein. And that understanding is an asset.

    Truce?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Jun 2010 @ 12:08 PM

  223. [Response: What you mean is that nothing I say or show will make any difference. We discussed attribution last month, if you didn't get it then,me repeating it is not going to change anything. Argument for argument sake is pointless. - gavin]

    Sorry Gavin but I don’t find your answer is fair. My question was not about attribution, which relies in some way on comparison with models. It was purely a question of data.

    Does the modern variation statistically exceed the past variations over the same time span ? no.

    If the past, pre-industrial variations were considered as random NOISE, there would be nothing significant in the observed data, especially if you consider homogeneous measurements (through proxies).

    The trick is that past data aren’t considered as “noise” , or only in limited amount, but rather as a significant “signal” that can be substracted from the observed data to get a significant trend. This may be right – but it is by no way obviously right, since there is no real validation of the background signal by the models. Nobody really knows what the trend would have been without the anthropic component. There is no validation of “natural” models, and no accurate enough data in the past to validate them at the needed accuracy. This is unfortunate, but it would be fair to recognize that it lets a door open for skepticism.

    Comment by Gilles — 27 Jun 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  224. Here are some statements awaiting a retraction:

    wattsupwiththat.com/2010/…/arctic-sea-ice-about-to-hit-normal-what-will-the -news-say

    http://www.floppingaces.net/2010/…/global-cooling-confirmed-arctic-ice-returns-to -normal/

    jennifermarohasy.com/…/sea-ice-extent-now-normal-in-arctic

    startthinkingright.wordpress.com/2010/…/arctic-ice-returns-to-normal-how- will-global-warming-alarmist-fearmonger-next

    meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com/2010/…/arctic-ice-back-to-normal.html

    and Bastardi needs to retract as well

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV3SaxgDNnM
    AccuWeather.com: Global Warming News, Science, Myths, Articles global-warming.accuweather.com

    wrong about sun ice and so on…

    because:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png

    sea ice extent anomaly exceeded 2008- 2009 2 months early

    Look guys, its in our best interest to call them wrong, and also they might retract, apologize, and listen more to the science guy. Until they do we must expose these contrarians who were wrong so that perhaps a Journalist will ask them why they are wrong instead of asking them about their vastly incorrect opinion about AGW.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 27 Jun 2010 @ 1:24 PM

  225. 156 Timothy Chase: That is exactly why EVERYBODY should be required to take enough laboratory courses as early as possible to learn that: Nature isn’t just the final authority, Nature is the Only authority.
    Scientists do not vote on what is the truth. There is only one vote and Nature owns it. We find out what Nature’s vote is by doing Scientific [public and replicable] experiments. Scientific [public and replicable] experiments are the only source of truth. Science is a simple faith in Scientific experiments and a simple absolute lack of faith in everything else except math. This is what must be taught in science class.
    See: “Science and Immortality” by Charles B. Paul 1980
    University of California Press

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 27 Jun 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  226. Ray Ladbury (190), this has little to do with anything helpful, but today’s problems with the press/media that you point to are not materially different than they always have been. See Alien and Sedition Act, e.g.

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Jun 2010 @ 2:19 PM

  227. I always thought that Ayn Rand had an infinite number of monkeys.

    Comment by John McManus — 27 Jun 2010 @ 2:35 PM

  228. Marco 219,

    So mark me down for breaking Godwin’s Law.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Jun 2010 @ 3:00 PM

  229. SecularAnimist wrote in 221:

    I don’t know if the moderators will permit my previous “philosophical” comment which was verbosely critical of Objectivism, but in defense of Objectivism in the context of AGW denialism, it is my observation that the overwhelming majority of denialists who claim or appear to be “ideologically opposed to various scientific discoveries” are not operating on the basis of any such intellectual framework as Objectivism.

    Agreed — and on behalf of Leonard Peikoff and Peter Schwartz I thank you!

    But you will notice that the good majority of organizations that are part of the disinformation network used to defend everything from dioxin to asbestos to cigarettes and greenhouse gas emissions are in terms of their espoused ideology Libertarian. Sure — Rush Limbaugh pushes it now as well — but I doubt that he would have become as popular as he has without decades of work on behalf of Libertarians chiselling away at the idea of anything beyond a minimalist government.
    *
    However, I wouldn’t necessarily consider Libertarianism to be that intellectual, either. Hayek? Certainly. But otherwise? One of the shining lights of Libertarianism was, like Friedrich A. von Hayek and Alan Greenspan also a student of Ludwig von Mises — a fellow by the name of Murray N. Rothbard — who argued in favor of anarcho-Libertarianism, in fact in favor of the idea that police forces could compete with one-another in offering their services. Of course most countries already have something along these lines — and in our country they are typically referred to as the mafia.

    In my view Libertarianism has succeeded well out of proportion to what it would have done otherwise because certain financial interests regarded it as a useful and wise investment. Particularly the various front organizations that acted as a cover for various industrial interests. The companies that dealt in dioxin, CFCs, asbestos, lead paint and leaded gas, cigarettes and fossil fuels. I personally put together a list of over thirty different organizations that were involved in both the tobacco and AGW disinformation campaigns — and although I haven’t checked yet, I suspect that one could easily identify ties to Libertarianism in all but say five of the organizations.
    *
    But there are other influences as well — including attempts to create a fusion between what many would call religious fundamentalism and economic fundamentalism. The editor of Reason magazine (a libertarian glossy monthly with obvious ties to Objectivism) didn’t know what to make of it — as it would seem to be the attempt to wed Libertarianism to some form of theocratic government. This has been going on for a while of course, but you might find this to be an interesting development — the attempt to create opposition to environmentalism based upon End Days religious extremism — being promoted by fossil fuel interests.

    Please see:

    On Friday, at the polluter-funded Heritage Foundation, Cornwall rolled out its latest campaign called “Resisting the Green Dragon.” Billed as “a Biblical response to one of the greatest deceptions of our day,” the video series claims the entire climate change movement is a “false religion,” a nefarious conspiracy to empower eugenicists and create a “global government.” Watch the absurd trailer here, which portrays the idea of climate change as akin to the Lord of the Rings villain Sauron: …

    The oily operators behind the religious climate change disinformation front group, Cornwall Alliance
    Watch their absurdly paranoid video asserting environmentalism is “without doubt one of the greatest threats to society” today
    June 19, 2010
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/06/19/the-oily-operators-behind-the-religious-climate-change-disinformation-front-group-cornwall-alliance/

    Then again, in New Zealand you have a the libertarian Libertarianz which is essentially another branch of the Objectivist movement — aligned for a while with Kelley’s Institute for Objectivist Studies, but then which started gravitating towards the Ayn Rand Institute. I was the webmaster for the website of their glossy monthly called “The Free Radical” while living in New Mexico — so I knew the magazine’s editor. He was the fellow who paid me for the work, let me install an internal search engine, heavily edit one of his lengthy speeches — when he handed it to me it was one solid block of text which I broke into paragraphs, then collected into sections then parts, then titled the sections and parts. “In the Revolution’s Twilight” which was in part about the failure of Libertarianism — and which suggested its future success.

    If I had to give a brief description, I would say that he was a passionate, fairly intellectual gay libertarian version of Rush Limbaugh — with the perfect BBC accent. None of these influences are necessarily as distant as you might think.

    Anyway, I will try getting back to you later on your earlier post, probably offlist, but right now Moira wants to take a walk.

    Take care.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Jun 2010 @ 4:26 PM

  230. I found it funny as well, but certainly OT.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Jun 2010 @ 4:43 PM

  231. “Does the modern variation statistically exceed the past variations over the same time span ? no.” Gilles — 27 June 2010 @ 12:25 PM

    Really? It took about 6000 years for the CO2 to rise from 190 ppm to 270 ppm coming out of the last ice age.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 27 Jun 2010 @ 5:37 PM

  232. I’ll caution against the calls for more activism on the part of scientists.

    When scientists become activists one begins to wonder which is driving the train: is the activism driven from the research, or is the research driven from the activism?

    Similarly, I noted that papers that print articles that are wrong are demanded to apologize as well as correct. Why? Do scientists apologize when they get it wrong?

    Or is it more about “winning” the political debate than anything else?

    Comment by Frank Giger — 27 Jun 2010 @ 5:40 PM

  233. Marco, How about if we give BPL a yellow card for Godwin’s Law and one for you for being a humorless git?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jun 2010 @ 7:30 PM

  234. Timothy Chase,
    No offense intended. I merely found Ayn Rand to be a second-class intellect, with a grossly inflated sense of self importance and a poor grasp of epistemology. I find many of her accolytes even more insufferable. Again, as I said over at Tamino’s recently: If you find yourself pushing back on the advancing walls of human knowledge so there’s room for your philosophy, it’s a pretty good sign your philosophy is wrong.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Jun 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  235. Far less OT than Ayn Rand and much else discussed recently–Has anyone noticed the sudden near universal melt now well underway throughout the Arctic.

    The time lapse sequence is quite dramatic. Things have been melting ahead of schedule up there, and the total ice volume and long term ice coverage anomaly charts have been dropping impressively (if that’s the right word) for weeks. But so far on the maps most of the action has been on the periphery.

    But since the solstice and especially in the last few days there has been a very dramatic shift from deep purple (code for unmelted ice) across most of the central part of the Arctic ocean, to suddenly magentas, yellows, greens…leaping across almost the whole extent of the ocean.

    The only place left with a respectable chunk of unmelted ice is the area just north of Greenland.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/CT/animate.arctic.color.0.html

    Comment by wili — 27 Jun 2010 @ 9:37 PM

  236. Ray Ladbury wrote in 235:

    If you find yourself pushing back on the advancing walls of human knowledge so there’s room for your philosophy, it’s a pretty good sign your philosophy is wrong.

    You won’t get any argument from me there — or with your estimation of her accolytes, for the most part. Incidentally, a large part of:

    Religion and Science
    http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/ForClergy/ReligionAndScience

    … is about what happens when push against those walls. And one of the biggest flaws (in my view) with the Objectivist movement can be found here — in an essay that is presumably dealing with young earth creationism — also up at the British Centre for Science Education:

    A Conspiracy of Silence
    http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/AConspiracyOfSilence

    I am not sure if you ever got the chance to look at them before, but I think you might like them.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Jun 2010 @ 10:08 PM

  237. Re 233 Frank Giger – regarding the first part; I can understand the concern about scientist-activists, but it should not be so hard to accept that people who actually know things may be moved to publically argue against confusion and misunderstanding. Even lacking the obvious economic and sociological consequences as with AGW, it is understandable that scientists who have studied evolution, motivated by curiosity if nothing else, would not want the public to be mislead simply by a religious misunderstanding (and note that, while many of the scientists may disagree with the religion, it may not be necessary to argue against the religion, because at least some of the resistance to teaching evolution comes from a misunderstanding of the implications of evolution). Hey, Buzz Aldrin actually punched a guy over moon-landing conspiracy theory – not to defend getting physical, but that hardly proves the conspiracy.

    Aside from the distinctions of where the actual science is, and who gets paid by whom, and the personal motivations of people, the label of activist would not apply to only ‘pro-AGW’. Certainly, Richard Lindzen is an activist. His claims can be challenged for reasons going beyond that label, or even beyond the funding (I personally wouldn’t bother to find out about the funding if I knew the statements were correct, or logical or defensible).
    ———-
    “Similarly, I noted that papers that print articles that are wrong are demanded to apologize as well as correct. Why? Do scientists apologize when they get it wrong?”

    I’m not sure if this applies to what you’re thinking of, but studies working at the edge of our knowledge are a different matter than journalism that reports scientific findings, or established scientific knowledge, to the public.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Jun 2010 @ 12:12 AM

  238. Walter Crain wrote in 147:

    what will be the worst effects of global warming?

    sea level rise? species extinction?

    Barton Paul Levenson wrote in 163:

    Drought. That’s what’s going to kill us long before sea level rise.

    Don’t know if it is worse than drought, but here is something else to keep in mind:

    We conclude that a global-mean warming of roughly 7 °C would create small zones where metabolic heat dissipation would for the first time become impossible, calling into question their suitability for human habitation. A warming of 11–12 °C would expand these zones to encompass most of today’s human population. This likely overestimates what could practically be tolerated….

    If warmings of 10 °C were really to occur in next three centuries, the area of land likely rendered uninhabitable by heat stress would dwarf that affected by rising sea level.

    Steven C. Sherwood; Huber, Mattheww (May 25, 2010) An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress, PNAS vol. 107 no. 21 9552-9555
    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/21/9552.abstract

    … as quoted in:

    Death, doom and disaster coming soon to a planet in your neighborhood
    TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 2010
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/06/death-doom-and-disaster-coming-soon-to.html

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Jun 2010 @ 12:21 AM

  239. wili wrote in 236:

    But since the solstice and especially in the last few days there has been a very dramatic shift from deep purple (code for unmelted ice) across most of the central part of the Arctic ocean, to suddenly magentas, yellows, greens…leaping across almost the whole extent of the ocean.

    The only place left with a respectable chunk of unmelted ice is the area just north of Greenland.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/CT/animate.arctic.color.0.html

    The following isn’t as up-to-date as your time lapse, but this is what PIOMAS Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly has been doing the past few weeks…
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/ArcticSeaiceVolume/images/BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrent.png

    At its worst back in September of 2007 we had an anomaly of -8,000 km^3. And presumably it has been dropping like a rock for the past several weeks where as of 2010 June 18 we were nearly at -11,000. Of course anomalies are calculated relative to the date, so to a large very large extent that is comparing the anomaly in late June to that in late September is apples to oranges. Still, does that seem right? If so, judging from the graph such a rapid and extended drop is quite unprecedented. Likewise, NSIDC states that the rate of loss in sea ice extent has been “… the highest for the month of May during the satellite record.”

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    And that is even older news. But yes, all indications are that something big is underway.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Jun 2010 @ 1:23 AM

  240. 233 Frank Giger: It isn’t a political debate. It is about avoiding EXTINCTION. I don’t see anything political about survival. Count me as an activist. Remember that extinction includes everybody, regardless of political affiliation or philosophy or wealth or anything else.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 28 Jun 2010 @ 2:49 AM

  241. “Far less OT than Ayn Rand and much else discussed recently–Has anyone noticed the sudden near universal melt now well underway throughout the Arctic.” – 236

    Yup. Now 1.9 million km**2 under historic norms for this time of year.

    I have little doubt that I will soon see the Denialosphere claiming that the meltdown is a result of a lack of sunspots.

    With regard to the issue of scientific activism and it’s potential to bring into question the motivation of the activist scientist. I note that the motivation has already been established in the mindset of the Denialist. That motivation claimed to be gubderment funding. So it would appear to me that this denialist load has already been shot.

    The question I would like to see is… If not now… Then when?

    What America needs is a national non-science day to combat the non-science coming from traitors like Inhofe and the other members of the denialism industry.

    And as to the date for such a day, I would think there would be no better day than the day of the minimum ice pack extent in the Arctic.

    What did you do when the warming came daddy?

    I stood by and complained about the press.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 28 Jun 2010 @ 4:12 AM

  242. Eric, thank you for your polite reply to my post #72 – I haven’t been online since then.

    You say ‘Many of the prominent (and not so prominent) ‘skeptics’ are advocating policy choices on the grounds that the mainstream scientific view of the physical science is wrong.’ You have been around rather more than I have, but my impression is that most ‘skeptics’, however we define them, at least the ones I read, when it comes to policy discussion do not start from a base that the science is wrong. That isn’t a policy discussion anyway, it’s a statement that we don’t need a policy discussion.

    Your HIV/AIDS example is a decent example – you say ‘I sure as heck would not want to have anyone (whether they are a ‘policy expert’ or not) dictating health policy predicated on the grounds that HIV does not cause AIDS’ – but surely health policy would be not based on that simplistic black/white question, but on transmission rates, behavioural adaptation, cost, and so on. I think your example is a false dichotomy?

    More importantly, you say: ‘First off, they (climate scientists) certainly do have the most expertise when it comes to “what is the likely impact of a given emission policy on CO2 concentrations and global mean temperature”? That’s precisely my area of disagreement/confusion. I don’t think they do, and the UK example of wind/solar I gave was an example of that. For example, climate scientists are least well-placed to make a judgement on the timing and quantum of CO2 emissions that are exported from, say, Spain, as a result of higher electricity prices there resulting from wind and solar, and certainly very poorly placed to opine on the impact on global GHG emissions of cap-and-trade or any similar EU or even EU/USA-wide policy.

    They can say, I agree, ‘IF the world does nothing and CO2 emissions continue to rise, then, ceteris paribus ….’ and so on. But that isn’t really policy, and it’s the ceteris paribus part that matters, a lot, and I don’t want to hear about that from climate scientists. Policy might be, say, a global carbon tax, from which the GHG impacts would be unknowable to anyone except economists, and they’d just make it up! :)

    So I don’t think I’m missing ‘missing a critical contextual fact’ – I just don’t think climate scientists should opine on the policy choices they believe are needed, because they look stupid, as I would if I opined on climate feedback.

    (I agree that there are some scientists better versed in the policy end than others, as you say, and I was not ‘assuming that among the experts in science, there are no experts in policy.’ I would paraphrase Samuel Johnson – “Sir, a climate scientist preaching on emission policy choices is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”)

    :)

    Comment by HotRod — 28 Jun 2010 @ 4:21 AM

  243. Re: New programme by BBC1.

    What do climate scientists think.

    Panorama seems to be using this list.
    1. Bob Watson. 2. Michael Mann.3. John Christy,Bob Ward and Lomborg *

    (* OK not all scientists)

    Judging from BBC’s web site here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2010/06/whats_up_

    with_the_weather.html

    [Why does the BBC have to borrow its title from Anthony Watts?]

    it looks as if the BBC will try to minimise the differences between them this time , after all we have a coalition government now.

    Up-date on this:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/06/leakegate-a-retraction/comment-page-1/#comment-178478

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 Jun 2010 @ 6:40 AM

  244. A few days back a person posted the following on my blog. Does anyone have an inkling of what he may be talking about, and is there anything to it?

    [blockquote]Did you know that Hansen was recently accused of, found guilty and admitted to drastically fudging his climate research studies at NASA.[/blockquote]

    My response was:

    [blockquote]Your claim of Hansen found guilty of fudging climate studies is a surprise. Of course, even if it were true — and I’ll have to have links and more info before I even consider it true — that still does not disprove AGW, which is based on much evidence from many scientists and from many different angles, plus laws of physics… [/blockquote]

    …and I went into explaining AGW as much as I could, and how robust the science on it is.

    [Response: I know of no evidence or basis for this claim or any reasonable variant. - gavin]

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 28 Jun 2010 @ 8:34 AM

  245. Thanks, Tim and Ven.

    The “tale of the tape” long term sea ice extent anomaly graph over at Cryosphere Today also continues to drop like a stone:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/sea.ice.anomaly.timeseries.jpg

    What should we look for as a first indication that the melt is leading to a massive methane eruption?

    Is there anything more up to date or more focused on the north than this:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/

    Comment by wili — 28 Jun 2010 @ 8:45 AM

  246. 244: Lynn I expect your poster was wearing “the juice”:

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1/?scp=1&sq=%22the%20juice%22&st=cse

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 28 Jun 2010 @ 8:56 AM

  247. 245: Will

    Study Says Undersea Release of Methane Is Under Way

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/05/science/earth/05methane.html

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 28 Jun 2010 @ 9:09 AM

  248. #241 Edward:

    We should not underestimate human resolve and the ability to survive under awful conditions. Technology, although unlikely to save most of us, will help to save many. If we end up with 5-6C because we are too stupid to act early enough, then yes, many will perish. Those that have the ability to move toward the poles will survive. There will be water there and food can be grown in the NH higher latitudes and the rest can be grown in indoor facilities. Perhaps there will be giant Biosphere-like facilities? Humans will survive. I think it is too extreme to claim extinction.

    My greater concern is global nuclear war as we fight over dwindling resources. THAT could be an extinction event when compounded with climate change.

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 28 Jun 2010 @ 9:15 AM

  249. Frank G. writes:

    “I noted that papers that print articles that are wrong are demanded to apologize as well as correct. Why? Do scientists apologize when they get it wrong?”

    The Times was not just wrong. The article was dishonest about what the scientists are actually saying.

    Comment by Snapple — 28 Jun 2010 @ 9:21 AM

  250. 239 Timothy, Hudson Bay was/is really melting fast, as the winter there was warm, eventually thinner ice dont have a chance at the summer solstice, but I marvel at its rate of disappearance, so rapid and sudden. The rest of first year ice fate is written on this animation sequence:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/CT/animate.arctic.color.4.html

    BPIOMAS seems accurate, extent is meaningless unless backed by volume, and I would not be shocked if even the contrarians will be astounded soon. The speed of which Hudson Bay Ice has disappeared is but a preview…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 28 Jun 2010 @ 9:49 AM

  251. 250

    “I noted that papers that print articles that are wrong are demanded to apologize as well as correct. Why? Do scientists apologize when they get it wrong?”

    Scientists or Journalists not recognizing their mistakes are handicapped by their pride, eventually their writings
    become without merit or substance while practicing incompetence. Anyone finding error in their judgement
    has a better grasp of science.

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 28 Jun 2010 @ 10:03 AM

  252. BPL wrote: “So mark me down for breaking Godwin’s Law.”

    Actually, your “Ein Reich, ein Volk, Ayn Rand!” comment would be an empirical verification of Godwin’s Law, not a violation of it.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Jun 2010 @ 10:03 AM

  253. HotRod: your argument boils down to “Doing X is stupid, therefore nobody will do X, therefore nobody can be doing X”. There are many deniers who routinely make the most outrageous policy recommendations (including doing nothing), just as AIDS deniers have advocated (and implemented) dangerous and nonsensical policies based on their claim that HIV is not related to AIDS.

    So, it’s not a false dichotomy as you claim – instead, you have overlooked some very well-known contradictions that undermine your whole theory.

    Comment by Didactylos — 28 Jun 2010 @ 10:05 AM

  254. Gavin @ 211 “Argument for argument sake is pointless.”

    If everyone took that to heart think how few comments there would be. ;)

    Giles – use your self-stated scientific prowess to answer your own question about significance of the temperature rise during the period 1880 – 2010. Note that the temperature hump during WWII is an artifact.
    Giles – did you forget attribution again? This isn’t just statistics.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 28 Jun 2010 @ 10:07 AM

  255. John at 248.

    Thanks for the link. I am aware of that study. It was the subject of a thread here. The question I was trying to pose was not when would methane start to be released–that is already happening as the article pointed out.

    The question is when will it start erupting in volumes that dramatically affect the climate.

    Some here have suggested that this could essentially never happen–that methane will only trickle out at such a low rate that it will now be a significant game changes, since it decays into CO2 and water in a few years.

    But as we move toward an ice-free Arctic, lots of shallow water, especially the continental shelf north of Siberia, will be not only much warmer, but more turbulent (sea ice calms waves–lack of it allows larger waves).

    I would like, for my own grim reasons, to be able to see this thing coming, if it’s coming, in something like real time. But most of the methane sensing data is only update every few weeks or months, depending on the location.

    Does the public have access to any of the satellite data?

    Comment by wili — 28 Jun 2010 @ 10:08 AM

  256. “Giles – use your self-stated scientific prowess to answer your own question about significance of the temperature rise during the period 1880 – 2010. Note that the temperature hump during WWII is an artifact.
    Giles – did you forget attribution again? This isn’t just statistics.”

    I agree. This isn’t just statistics, obviously. That’s the issue : were it just statistics, things would be much simpler.

    Comment by Gilles — 28 Jun 2010 @ 11:22 AM

  257. Re 245 and claim that Hansen has been found guilty of fudging data. I tried using google on “Hansen Fudging”. I found several references to Hansen’s complaints about the Bush administration’s fudging data, but I also found thenewliberty.com/?p=612 which quotes Christopher Booker. His main complaint seems to be that it seems to have been cold in Europe, but there doesn’t seem to be anything else. Booker is known, among other things, for questioning whether asbestos causes cancer.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 28 Jun 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  258. Re 243 HotRod (re Eric) -

    First, to second 254 Didactylos, while knowledge of only some of the relevant facts is not enough to devise good policy, ignorance of some of the relevant facts can be an impediment to devising good policy. Actually, those two statements are quite similar. Knowledge of climate and ecology is important for the same reason that it is not sufficient by itself.

    I just don’t think climate scientists should opine on the policy choices they believe are needed, because they look stupid, as I would if I opined on climate feedback.

    They could. But what if they don’t look stupid? You have to know what they’re gonna say before you can say it will be stupid.

    When a combustion expert, geologist, meteorologist, economist, politician, pundit, or science-fiction author says something about AGW, it may look stupid. But that’s because of what they might say. Another combustion expert, geologist, meteorologist, economist, politician, pundit, or science-fiction author might have either enough knowledge of climate or enough awareness of their own limitations to be able to say something quite smart about AGW. For that matter, when they say something stupid about AGW, it isn’t necessarily about the climate physics – it could be about geology or economics or government.

    Several months ago I posted a series of rather long comments in which I outlined what I think to be a good policy regarding AGW. I breezed through some of it again in a comment above (somewhere around or before 150, I think). (Note what I did not do in those comments: I did not estimate any numerical values for an emissions tax. I don’t have the knowledge to do that, even in a back-of-the-envelope sort of way. What I did was a lay out a general framework based on the concept of an efficient market, plus an awareness of realistic inefficiency. Which, just to be clear, I am not claiming to be original – obviously it isn’t, although there might be an original part or two somewhere in there. I’ve been exposed to ideas and I’ve thought about them and the policy I described is a result of that.) (And I’m not even an actual scientist (might be at some point in the future, though) or economist.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Jun 2010 @ 1:50 PM

  259. 150, former sceptic: Anderegg et al. was peer reviewed in the proper manner.

    I stand corrected. It was reviewed by a social scientist?

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 28 Jun 2010 @ 2:09 PM

  260. Burton Richter on climate and energy:

    A Nobelist’s Energy Pitch for Obama

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/28/a-nobelists-energy-pitch-for-obama/?hp

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 28 Jun 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  261. Re My #244:

    I’ve just seen Panorama.

    Comment: The final version was rather worse than I expected because it was framed by references to the emails stolen from the CRU. It really appears that these editors think that is the main news item …
    but they haven’t even followed that story well enough to tell it properly. Several allegations were repeated but not countered in the programme.

    As for the science, that was based on the very brief interviews I linked in #244.

    If you have a good enough computer you can probably find the final thing on the web.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 Jun 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  262. Lynn Vincentnathan (245) — Consdier passing along
    David Greenwood’s comment at Climatesight
    http://climatesight.org/the-credibility-spectrum/#comment-2320
    which is short and clar.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Jun 2010 @ 5:15 PM

  263. Might be a random interjection, but I’m just wondering if anyone saw this article in ARS Technica:

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/06/climate-friction-as-past-papers-meet-their-critics.ars

    It discusses the PNAS paper, censorship issues, and the like. Nice to know the geek/hacker culture is on-board with AGW/ACC.

    Why the change in terminology anyway?

    Comment by Dan Sinnett — 28 Jun 2010 @ 5:20 PM

  264. Dan Sinnet: AGW-ACC terminology?

    I’ve heard that those who wanted to anesthetize the public to the issue prefered ACC (or just CC), which doesn’t automatically (to the lesser-informed) conjur up images of melting ice caps and rising sea levels and heat waves, and could refer to cooling or warming or any persistent shift in weather patterns. However, changes to climate that come with AGW or would tend to come with GW in general are more than a global average surface temperature increase, and ACC could be seen as a more all-encompassing term. ACC would also include any ‘special’ regional effects of aerosols; aside from that, though, I think either term works.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Jun 2010 @ 6:08 PM

  265. I’m guessing that the poster to Lynn’s blog was just regurgitating inaccurately–a bit of D’Aleo, a bit of Climategate, whirl in a blender and serve hot.

    I’m afraid a lot of these guys (based on those whom I’ve encountered) aren’t really big on detail anyway.

    On another topic, yes, the melt season so far has been quite spectacular. It’s amazing how deep in denial the WUWT crew are; Steve Goddard has convinced himself that nothing odd is going on.

    (How? selective data, of course–right now, he’s pinning his hopes on the UniBremen Arctic temperature graph, which shows slight cooling for the area north of 80 degrees*, and on the U.S. Navy PIPS 2 ice forecast. Ironically, both of these sources depend upon computer modeling, but they are currently providing a result that he approves of.)

    *The great majority of the sea ice lies below this latitude–Hudson Bay, for instance, which was referred to above, extends down to the 50′s.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Jun 2010 @ 6:35 PM

  266. Kevin, the ice in Hudson Bay is just about gone, and it’s not even the end of June.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 28 Jun 2010 @ 7:26 PM

  267. @ Patrick in 248:

    “I can understand the concern about scientist-activists, but it should not be so hard to accept that people who actually know things may be moved to publically argue against confusion and misunderstanding.”

    It is one thing to stick up for the science – I approve! However, one must remember that many a researcher grabbed an idea and refused to let go even when the evidence went against them largely because they had defined themself as a scientist as much by their activism as their research.

    It is quite another for a scientist to begin advocating for a specific political solution, however.

    One can agree completely with the science and disagree with the current political solutions being offered. Unfortunately its actually rare when people are involved. You’ll read accusations that I’m a “denier” of the science within these comment sections for that reason – or accused of wanting to “do nothing” in the face of climate change.

    Neither is true – but it’s par for the course within political disagreements to lump people into boxes.

    The science is apolitical – but that stops right about the nanosecond after someone says “so what do we do about it?”

    :)

    Comment by Frank Giger — 28 Jun 2010 @ 8:00 PM

  268. Trust me, Jim, I’ve noticed! This is one of the remarkable things going on.

    Another is the melting through the Canadian Archipelago. It’s leading to speculations (some of them mine) about when one or more of the Northwest Passage routes may open this year.

    Weather events always influence the melt season in unexpected ways, it seems. But even if melt is more or less “normal” (whatever that means today) this will have been a rather spectacular season. And I really doubt that it is going to be merely normal.

    For those interested, Neven has a new–well, it’s still pretty new–blog on this topic here:

    http://neven1.typepad.com/

    Unassuming name, I know, but there’s been rather a lot of good discussion & sharing of sources.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Jun 2010 @ 8:06 PM

  269. http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/06/climate-friction-as-past-papers-meet-their-critics.ars

    It discusses the PNAS paper, censorship issues, and the like. Nice to know the geek/hacker culture is on-board with AGW/ACC.

    Would that it were so. That was a reasonable article, as are most of the comments. OTOH, read anything on the subject by Eric Raymond, or Andrew Orlowski 8^(.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 28 Jun 2010 @ 8:24 PM

  270. 249 Scott A Mandia: Regional nuclear wars will be part of the breakdown. For example, India, Pakistan and China will fight over water. I expect lots of nuclear wars.
    Have you ever thought about a run on grocery stores? Runs on banks are history. Runs on grocery stores will be new. But it won’t stop there. If there are no groceries, nobody goes to work, so civilization collapses. Everybody wanders off in search of food. Now, they can wander over the whole Earth, eating everything to extinction. Once that is done, they will turn on each other. NO place on Earth will be safe. [Can I move to Mars now, please?] The higher northern latitudes will be no sanctuary because people can travel too well. People will be a lot worse than locusts could ever be. Once all of the food is eaten to extinction, it is all over.

    There are several more kill mechanisms in Mother Nature’s arsenal. She will use them.

    [Response: Can we please move on from apocalyptic doomsday scenarios? These conversations never go anywhere and everyone is very clear about how you feel on this issue. - gavin]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 28 Jun 2010 @ 8:35 PM

  271. 266 Kevin, Goddard statements? Quite off the mark, surface temperatures are mostly average because there is still some ice reflecting sunlight, but sunlight is very intense due to low cloud extent and high sun elevations, and does not show immediately above the ice, but further up. I calculate closer density weighted temperatures between Arctic and temperate upper air stations , while there may be 25 – 30 C difference between temperate and Arctic surface observations, the DWT temperatures are often less than 10 degrees apart.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_30b.fnl.html

    Note last 30 days temperature anomaly over Hudson Bay, and it shows no anomaly, yet over the same last 30 days all ice about vanished. What he misses to consider is the state of the ice as built over the entire winter.
    Also other major things like cloud coverage sst’s, crucial in analyzing great melts. I can’t see him practicing good melt estimates but at least he makes a projection, good for him, hope he corrects his mistakes (thereafter) when he will find out the extent of the melt of 2010…

    Comment by Wayne Davidson — 28 Jun 2010 @ 8:55 PM

  272. The US industries that have been involved in changing the climate likely can greatly reduce their defensive investment in advocacy science, assuming this new precedent (limiting costs to remedial gestures, and ruling out big financial penalties), would apply to them.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/company-news/tobacco-industry-supreme-court-280-billion-dollar/19534044/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Jun 2010 @ 9:32 PM

  273. Hank Roberts wrote in 272:

    The US industries that have been involved in changing the climate likely can greatly reduce their defensive investment in advocacy science, assuming this new precedent (limiting costs to remedial gestures, and ruling out big financial penalties), would apply to them.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/company-news/tobacco-industry-supreme-court-280-billion-dollar/19534044/

    What can I say? It is the same Supreme Court that decided that Exxon and other corporate “artificial persons” are a disadvantaged class whose financial contributions to political candidates constitutes a form of “Free Speech” that deserves constitutional protection.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 29 Jun 2010 @ 1:52 AM

  274. [edit - OT]

    Comment by ScaredAmoeba — 29 Jun 2010 @ 2:27 AM

  275. Its interesting to know that where John Cristy was an outright denier (so to speak) for many years he now accepts ACC/AGW but only attributes 25% of the temperature rises to humans and the rest from natural variability and/or other factors (probably the sun) for which he states that upto 30% of climte scientists are with him in being skeptical of CC human causes

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7849441/Michael-Mann-says-hockey-stick-should-not-have-become-climate-change-icon.html

    Ah the battle continues only in a new guise now with new arguments based on the science rather than outright denial.

    Comment by pete best — 29 Jun 2010 @ 4:30 AM

  276. HotRod 243: you say ‘I sure as heck would not want to have anyone (whether they are a ‘policy expert’ or not) dictating health policy predicated on the grounds that HIV does not cause AIDS’ – but surely health policy would be not based on that simplistic black/white question

    BPL: Surprise! Policy was made on EXACTLY THAT BASIS in the Republic of South Africa–and millions of people died who might have been saved.

    Don’t kid yourself. Bad science can inform policy. [edit - OT]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2010 @ 4:46 AM

  277. Patrick 259 — Sweden started out with $100 per ton of CO2 ($27 per ton of C) and has now raised it to $150, with significant effects on Swedish CO2 output. I think Norway is following a similar policy. I was surprised to find out that several countries, mostly in Europe, have already implemented carbon taxes, with good results–except in Finland, where they vitiated it by giving exemptions to the most carbon-intensive industries!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2010 @ 4:51 AM

  278. Patrick #265:

    I’ve heard that those who wanted to anesthetize the public to the issue prefered ACC (or just CC)

    You don’t have to rely on rumor; in this case there actually is a smoking gun. Read page 142 of this document (the rest of it is interesting, too):

    http://www.ewg.org/files/LuntzResearch_environment.pdf

    This is a report written by Republican pollster/media consultant Frank Luntz. It was distributed to the Bush White House and senior Republicans in Congress. Someone (can’t remember who) did a LexisNexis search and found that Bush consistently said “global warming” before the date of this report and “climate change” after it.

    Now, having said that, there’s nothing wrong with “climate change.” Global warming is one aspect of climate change (and not the worst one, in my view). And we should also remember what the “CC” in “IPCC” stands for, and that IPCC was organized in 1987.

    But what is not true is the meme that the “enviros” changed the terminology in order to cover their bases when global warming failed to appear on schedule. This is patently, obviously, and demonstrably false.

    Comment by ChrisD — 29 Jun 2010 @ 7:42 AM

  279. It seems to me, the major “legitimate” dispute is over the magnitude of the forcing factor. That is, how much warming effect is likely compared to some simple baseline of just taking direct absorption by changing levels of CO2. I even got Lubos Motl to admit CO2 was a GH gas, he just said the forcing factor was around one instead of three or so as the consensus states. So if you can split utter deniers from FF wranglers, there can be a better debate. In any case, as Tom Friedman points out: the exact risk factor for temperature change doesn’t matter a lot, we’re smart to ward it off and achieve more energy independence anyway.

    (BTW, the skeptics like to game the Beer’s Law thing – “existing CO2 already absorbs all the IR from the ground” – forgetting that absorbed heat has to be re-emitted, and more CO2 shifts up the equilibrium temperature. They also front up confusion over how much warmer we are v. an airless world, against the real question of how much temperature increase we can expect over that. And so on.

    BTW, I think dew points are getting even worse that temperatures per se. I want to see charts of global DPs over time. Around here in SE VA, we’re getting lower 70s in June – that is almost unprecedented. And, it used to snow more often.

    Comment by Neil Bates — 29 Jun 2010 @ 7:49 AM

  280. BPL, 100 $ per ton of CO2 is not 27$ per ton of C but rather 300 $, since 1 tC = 3t CO2 approximately. But it represents “only” 50 $/bl.

    Note that results were not so good in Netherlands and in Norway, and the CO2 emission of France leveled off since 1990 too, although no extra carbon tax was imposed.

    But there is a strange contradiction in the supposed effect of a tax. Everybody agrees that emitting more than 1000 GtC can be possible only if we extract massively unconventional resources. And everybody agrees that these unconventional resources can become economically profitable only if the prices increases substantially, much more than 100 $ per ton of C. So the tax is supposed to be efficient to reduce the consumption , but the bigger increase of the price of fossil fuels is supposed to do nothing at all, since it would accompany a huge increase of consumption.?

    Comment by Gilles — 29 Jun 2010 @ 8:38 AM

  281. Neil Bates and Pete Best,
    I am not sure how large your respective victories are. Both Christy and Motl continue to argue in a manner utterly unconstrained by evidence. I do not see how either man produces their “estimates” unless they are pulling them out of some alternative orifice. Motl’s long-time dalliance with string theory (I don’t think he’s produced anything useful) could explain his lack of respect for evidence, but Christy ought to know better.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jun 2010 @ 9:15 AM

  282. gavin wrote: “Can we please move on from apocalyptic doomsday scenarios?”

    That’s a really poignantly ironic comment, when you think about it.

    Sometimes when I look at how AGW is proceeding right before our very eyes, I feel like I am asking Nature that very question.

    And Nature replies, “Uh, no, not really.”

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Jun 2010 @ 9:41 AM

  283. “Giles – use your self-stated scientific prowess to answer your own question about significance of the temperature rise during the period 1880 – 2010. Note that the temperature hump during WWII is an artifact.
    Giles – did you forget attribution again? This isn’t just statistics.”

    I agree. This isn’t just statistics, obviously. That’s the issue : were it just statistics, things would be much simpler.

    Comment by Gilles — 28 June 2010 @ 11:22 AM

    I disagree with both: it is just statistics. Ideology prevents some, such as Gilles, from seeing what the statistics say.

    That’s why they are called denialists, because they deny facts are facts because they don’t fit their ideologies.

    Comment by ccpo — 29 Jun 2010 @ 10:49 AM

  284. ccpo : ” Ideology prevents some, such as Gilles, from seeing what the statistics say.”

    Sorry but I can’t agree. My original question wasn’t ideological at all (and you don’t know my ideology, or even if I really have one). It was purely factual : over which time interval T is the modern variation (average slope on [-T;0] ) outside the statistical distribution of the same quantity computed over all past intervals [-t-T;-t] ?

    I think it is a purely mathematical , well-posed problem. There is no ideology inside- just facts (and no denial of anything since I’m just asking a question).

    If you know the answer, you can tell me the values of T, the slope, and the central value and standard deviation of past values (before a supposed anthropogenic influence), measured in a homogeneous way with the same indicator, to be comparable.

    [Response: Your ideology is irrelevant, because this is just not an interesting question. Temperatures have ranged from snowball earth to the Cretaceous greenhouse, and so nothing that has happened in the recent past is outside the bounds of variability from past climates. So what? If you think that this means we cannot determine to what extent the anthropogenic trends have come out of the background noise for the present day situation, you would be very wrong. See answer first given for why. - gavin]

    Comment by Gilles — 29 Jun 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  285. Gilles says, “So the tax is supposed to be efficient to reduce the consumption , but the bigger increase of the price of fossil fuels is supposed to do nothing at all, since it would accompany a huge increase of consumption.?”

    Gilles, do you want to try that one again. I couldn’t even diagram that sentence. Maybe try in French.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jun 2010 @ 12:07 PM

  286. Gilles,

    You’re right. I confused the Euro rate (27 per ton) with the Carbon rate (4401/1200 * 100 = $366.75 per ton C).

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2010 @ 1:30 PM

  287. This comment from Judith Curry is pretty revealing of how her thought process has degraded:

    “Apparently, a number of state climatologists have lost their jobs over their views on global warming, and/or have felt their jobs were threatened. David Legates, Pat Michaels, George Taylor are people i’ve seen mentioned in this context. If you google state climatologists losing jobs, you get a fair number of hits. I don’t have any definitive documentation on this, although I do recall a conversation with Pat Michaels about this.”

    Well gee if I Google “911 conspiracy” I get many more hits. If it’s found on Google or if Pat Michaels says it, it must be true. What concerns me is how she seems to take most things contrarians throw out there at face value, something common with much of the general public with clear ideological leanings, but less common with university professors.

    Comment by MarkB — 29 Jun 2010 @ 1:45 PM

  288. Re 279 ChrisD – thanks

    Re 280 Neil Bates – Actually, the forcing by changing CO2 by some amount is quite well established and contrained to a range around ~ 3.7 W/m2 (tropopause level after stratospheric adjustment) per doubling for the range of CO2 amounts being considered. It sounds like Motl is thinking of climate sensitivity per doubling. There is radiative forcing per unit change in forcing agent, and there is climate sensitivity per unit change in forcing, and the product is climate sensitivity per unit change in forcing agent. The sensitivity has significant (but not infinite) uncertainty because of feedbacks – clouds in particular are a major contributor to that uncertainty. Radiative feedbacks act the same way as radiative forcings, except that they themselves are dependent on temperature changes (the distinction depends on timescale and context; also, in some contexts the feedbacks’ effects are described as radiative forcings – for example, the radiative forcing of the increase in water vapor that would occur for a given temperature increase).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Jun 2010 @ 2:03 PM

  289. BPL #278, Gilles;

    Scandinavian carbon tax rates differ by type of fuel, economic sector, and whether or not the emissions concerned also come under cap-and-trade arrangements. In Norway, the highest carbon tax rate is paid on petrol, (US)$57 per metric ton CO2 (2010 info, current exchange rates). The nominal rate in Sweden reached $120/ton CO2 by 2007 (at today’s exchange rates). But industry generally paid only a fifth of that — the full tax was paid in transportation and space heating (CHP excepted), mostly by households. Scandinavian readers may want to fill in or correct me.

    (It goes to show, I think, that a carbon tax need be no simpler or more logical than cap and trade once the politicians have handed out exemptions to their favored industries, at the expense of the ordinary consumer. But at least the Scandinavians are doing something.)

    Comment by CM — 29 Jun 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  290. u have me curious here…

    [Response: Let's leave that for the readers to decide, eh? Or perhaps it should be decided by relative Erdos numbers? ;) - gavin]

    What is your number ?

    [Response: I leave that as an exercise for the reader (there are online resources you can use). But this paper is a clue. ;) - gavin]

    Comment by EL — 29 Jun 2010 @ 2:46 PM

  291. #282 and #276

    I thought that Christy was at one time a “global warming denier” in the sense that he thought that he had established that the troposphere had not warmed very much and that he may have used that as a basis for his world view.

    I find it hard to believe that he used to disbelieve that CO2 was a greenhouse gas or that humans had not increased the amount of it. After all he is a physicist. Those were two of the questions which the Panorama programme got so excited about. The best thing about his other answers was that he stated that he did not really know. (Contrast Lindzen who used to be almost certain in 1995 that the climate sensitivity was tiny with even tinier error bars, Morgan and Keith, 1995 other researchers at the time provided sensible error bars*).

    I agree with Ray. After the disclaimer , he went on to estimate that 1/4 of the recent warming was anthropogenic and that between 10% and 30% of his colleagues agreed with him that AGW is not a problem. He was never asked why. The BBC rarely goes below the surface.
    ———–
    * Why did the BBC fail to show the error bars in the hockey stick graph? It seriously alters the argument.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 29 Jun 2010 @ 3:08 PM

  292. Secular Animist, earlier you offered some criticisms of Objectivism in comment 220 of this thread. I stated the desire to move the discussion to a different venue because Real Climate really isn’t the place to have an extended discussion of that nature.

    However, I promised to respond. My apologies for the delay — I have had other comments and emails to respond to elsewhere. But I believe I have found a good place if you are still interested.

    It is in Wave — which means that to participate it will be necessary to become a member of Google Wave — assuming you aren’t already. However, if others are interested in the discussion but don’t wish to join Wave at the moment it is also possible to view the discussion in realtime at:

    A wave-based discussion regarding Objectivism
    http://wave.uphero.com/objectivism.php

    It won’t be necessary for you and I to be in the wave at the same time, but assuming we are we will both see each other’s individual key strokes — as will anyone who may be watching from the webpage. Anyway, if you are not interested and have moved on to something else I will of course understand, but if you are interested the opportunity is available.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 29 Jun 2010 @ 3:33 PM

  293. Secular Animist, one more point regarding the above invitation. While it is public-viewable, for everyone else it is read only as I am not interested at this point in a discussion of indeterminate length.

    As such once you have joined Wave I will need to know your Wave address in order to add you to the discussion as someone with read-write capabilities. My wave address is timothychase at googlewave dot com. However it may be helpful if you also email me at timothychase at gmail dot com just to make sure that you reach me.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 29 Jun 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  294. There was yet another thing wrong with Panorama

    As Michael Schlesinger has pointed out in his mailing list, they showed a scale with certainty at the left hand end and “way out” (or some such) at the right hand end. Some people will become confused about the meaning of scientific uncertainty as applied to climate change in particular.

    In other words the implication;

    very uncertain => ‘AGW is wrong’

    is wrong

    I mentioned the converse case of Lindzen in #292. He is not alone.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 29 Jun 2010 @ 4:03 PM

  295. Gavin :Temperatures have ranged from snowball earth to the Cretaceous greenhouse, and so nothing that has happened in the recent past is outside the bounds of variability from past climates. ”

    OK but this is not exactly my question : it is about the slope, not the amplitude itself. Or more or less equivalently about the amplitude of the power spectrum at a given frequency T^-1. Is the current rate of variation much larger than in the past, as is often claimed? from your answer I understand that you think – like me- “no”.


    So what? If you think that this means we cannot determine to what extent the anthropogenic trends have come out of the background noise for the present day situation, you would be very wrong. See answer first given for why.”

    Well, you may be right, but your statement is obviously much weaker than if the variation could be proved to be outside the natural noise. If I understand correctly, your claim is that your knowledge of the natural noise is good enough so that you can substract it confidently and evaluate properly the anthropic residual. This would be rather obvious if the signal you try to extract were much above the noise – and much less obvious if it is not. Again it is fair to recognize that it is at least disputable.

    Comment by Gilles — 29 Jun 2010 @ 4:13 PM

  296. “Gilles says, “So the tax is supposed to be efficient to reduce the consumption , but the bigger increase of the price of fossil fuels is supposed to do nothing at all, since it would accompany a huge increase of consumption.?”

    Gilles, do you want to try that one again. I couldn’t even diagram that sentence. Maybe try in French.”

    well I’ll do a new try ….

    a) Dangerous GW is supposed to occur above some relatively high amount of burnt fossil fuels, that we should try to reduce , ok?

    b) this high amount is reachable only if we extract unconventional resources, ok?

    c) these resources need to be sold at a high price to be economically profitable, ok?

    d) so the danger does really exist only if we could sell a huge amount of FF at a high price, meaning that the price is NOT supposed to be a problem for the consumer.

    BUT

    taxes are supposed to be efficient to reduce the consumption.

    So why would the consumers reduce their consumption because of high taxes, but not because of high prices?

    Comment by Gilles — 29 Jun 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  297. Gilles (296) — Studying this simple model
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530
    may help.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 29 Jun 2010 @ 4:53 PM

  298. Gilles wrote: “Dangerous GW is supposed to occur above some relatively high amount of burnt fossil fuels … this high amount is reachable only if we extract unconventional resources, ok?”

    Not OK.

    Dangerous global warming is occurring NOW, the result of the fossil fuels that we have already burned.

    If you don’t understand that, then you have not been paying attention.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Jun 2010 @ 4:56 PM

  299. Among many refutations of the peculiar notion that scientists should leave policy to the actions of politicians, industry, and market choices, notable are these facts (the first mentioned without attribution earlier in this thread):

    Paul Crutzen in 1995 wrote of

    “… the nightmarish thought that if the chemical industry had developed organobromine compounds instead of the CFCs – or alternatively, if chlorine chemistry would have run more like that of bromine – then without any preparedness, we would have been faced with a catastrophic ozone hole everywhere and at all seasons during the 1970s, probably before the atmospheric chemists had developed the necessary knowledge to identify the problem and the appropriate techniques for the necessary critical measurements.

    Noting that nobody had given any thought to the atmospheric consequences of the release of Cl or Br before 1974, I can only conclude that mankind has been extremely lucky, that Cl activation can only occur under very special circumstances. This shows that we should always be on our guard for the potential consequences of the release of new products into the environment. Continued surveillance of the composition of the stratosphere, therefore, remains a matter of high priority for many years ahead.”
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1995/crutzen-lecture.html

    Or as Feynman put it, also refuting hoping for continued blind luck:

    “The fact that this danger did not lead to a catastrophe before is no guarantee that it will not the next time, unless it is completely understood. When playing Russian r oulette the fact that the first shot got off safely is little comfort for the next.”
    http://www.fotuva.org/feynman/challenger-appendix.html

    Eric responded to someone inline above writing “… If you don’t like the policy, fine, but don’t argue against it on the grounds that the science is wrong, because that’s a non-starter.”

    Non-starting is the goal. In our social system delay and denial are _very_ effective. Scientists don’t realize this until they get clobbered by it in their own field. Consider antibiotic resistance, for example. http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/06/fda_challenges_use_of_antibiot.html

    “Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” — C. Northcote Parkinson

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Jun 2010 @ 5:38 PM

  300. Apparently it doesn’t matter what experts think, according to some. More fodder for the deniers? http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1998644,00.html?xid=rss-fullhealthsci-yahoo

    Comment by Nick Dearth — 29 Jun 2010 @ 6:17 PM

  301. “Non-starting is the goal.”

    True, that. It’s very evident that that is precisely what is going on with many opponents of any effective mitigation policy.

    What else can explain the “anything but AGW” style of discourse, which so often leads to utter incoherence on larger scales? “It isn’t warming, but if it is then it must be the sun because Mars is warming, too. . .” etc., etc.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Jun 2010 @ 6:32 PM

  302. I prefer the term “established science” to “consensus science”: I define established science as a measurable quantity. When almost all peer-reviewed papers cease to discuss an issue, and move on to the next level of research and all significant papers on the “other side” have been refuted, the science is established.

    It’s is rare that “established science” is overturned, but it has happened. Extraordinary evidence is needed to overturn established science, although occasional anomalies may occur.

    Comment by veritas36 — 29 Jun 2010 @ 6:44 PM

  303. “What is your number ?”

    Hey its 2! (bows and crawls out backwards).

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 29 Jun 2010 @ 7:05 PM

  304. Most of the “contrarian” letters contain a statement along the lines of “there has been no net global warming in the last x years” (where ‘x’ is some convenient cherrypicked number).

    Similarly, when one examines the papers of some of the contrarian signers, one is struck by how often the background and conclusion sections go way beyond what can be supported by the analysis (which is itself often less than compelling). Good examples would be McLean et al 2009 on ENSO, or most anything by Patrick Michaels at Climate Research.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 29 Jun 2010 @ 7:14 PM

  305. Gilles,
    It is by no means clear what unconventional sources of fossil fuel will cost to extract once production ramps up. If you had asked petroleum geologists 20 years ago whether we’d be sucking oil through a soda straw passing through a mile of ocean and 2 miles of rock, I suspect you would have at least provided them amusement.

    Even if prices are higher, there will be 1.5 times as many people consuming energy and probably most will be living at a significantly higher standard than they are today. Again, I have zero confidence that these two crises (Peak Oil and climate change) will interfere destructively.

    WRT rising temperatures–there have been very few sustained epochs (over many decades) of warming at the paces we are now seeing. The Interglacials saw about 10 degrees warming, but it took place over a couple of millennia. We could see a comparable amount of warming in just a few centuries–the blink of an eye in geologic or paleontological terms.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Jun 2010 @ 8:10 PM

  306. Ray Ladbury wrote: “Even if prices are higher, there will be 1.5 times as many people consuming energy and probably most will be living at a significantly higher standard than they are today.”

    The issue with peak oil (setting aside AGW for a moment) is not whether prices are higher. It is net energy return on energy invested.

    It doesn’t just cost more petrodollars to get the “unconventional” sources — it costs more energy.

    At the point where it takes as much (or more) energy to get the fuel out of the ground and process it into usable form, then it is no longer a source of energy. It may still be a valuable commodity that people will pay a lot of money for — gold and platinum and a host of other minerals are not sources of energy either, and people pay a lot of money for them.

    But at some point, while fossil hydrocarbons will still be a valuable resource, if it takes more energy to get them into the tank or the power plant than is provided when we burn them, they will no longer be a source of energy.

    Ray Ladbury wrote: “The Interglacials saw about 10 degrees warming, but it took place over a couple of millennia. We could see a comparable amount of warming in just a few centuries …”

    Are you talking C or F?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Jun 2010 @ 10:46 PM

  307. “these two crises (Peak Oil and climate change) will interfere destructively”

    A potential language barrier: I presume Ray Ladbury means destroying each other, leaving a smaller net crisis. (I once read of a discussion in which one person thought the term ‘positive feedback’ in climate science meant that the feedbacks were beneficial.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Jun 2010 @ 11:23 PM

  308. Re 268 Frank Giger –

    However, one must remember that many a researcher grabbed an idea and refused to let go even when the evidence went against them largely because they had defined themself as a scientist as much by their activism as their research.

    Concievable? Yes. Inevitable? No. Some people who are concerned about their reputations would prefer to correct their mistakes earlier rather than later or never. Do you have any examples in AGW? Is that what happenned with Lindzen?

    “It is quite another for a scientist to begin advocating for a specific political solution, however.”“The science is apolitical – but that stops right about the nanosecond after someone says “so what do we do about it?”

    It’s possible for politics to creep into science – (Caution: this is something I only have a vague knowledge of, but perhaps for example: early intelligence tests with racial bias – though bias in such tests can be by accident. An very interesting example is the question … I don’t remember exactly, but something like – which does not belong: potato, fork, knife, spoon, and if I remember correctly, the accepted answer today is the potato, but once upon a time it would have been the spoon (because one eats a potato with a fork and knife) – maybe it was potato, fork, plate, spoon – but you get the point; note that it is much more straightforward measuring temperature and wind then it is to measure intelligence)) – but the science tends to right itself.

    Of course, one can have ‘office politics’, and presumably that can occur at most workplaces. Politics occurs whereever people interact directly or otherwise.

    But back to your presumably intended point – once we have the science, politics comes in when it affects or potentially affects or is percieved to possibly affect anything practical or important or even philosophical/religious. But that’s the way it has to be. If there are important implications, then there are important implications. Of course the scientific knowledge – all factual knowledge, really (economics, ecology, sociology, climatology, etc.) has to be combined with a values system in order to reach a prefered plan of action.

    Politics can more narrowly apply to government, presidents and legislators, etc. It’s not necessarily bad. Often politicians use the term to refer to those unpleasant aspects (mud-slinging and evasion and misinformation) (PS I have no problem with negative campaigning in so far as the allegations are true and relevant).

    So, anyway, if you’re intending to imply that a scientist should refrain from suggesting or advocating solutions involving in part human behavior, well, if there is a problem, we can’t solve it unless there is a solution, and one way to find a solution is for someone who knows about the problem to propose or pass along a solution. Somebody has to do it if it is to be done. The politicization shouldn’t generally be declared the fault of the solution-backers.

    One can agree completely with the science and disagree with the current political solutions being offered.

    True.

    but it’s par for the course within political disagreements to lump people into boxes.

    Sure.

    You’ll read accusations that I’m a “denier” of the science within these comment sections for that reason – or accused of wanting to “do nothing” in the face of climate change.

    Okay, well, what is the disagreement, then? What would you rather do?

    (PS a person who is not a denier of AGW in so far as the climate change itself is concerned could still be a denier of the effects of AGW, or aspects of the potential for adaptation and/or mitigation of AGW. Of course there is room for disagreement but it is possible to step outside the boundaries of what can be substantiated, and it is possible to get known facts wrong (even if about opinions or fuzzy knowledge, one can get facts about those things wrong or ignore salient facts; one can also run into logical inconsistencies where at least one part must be wrong), and it is possible to refuse to correct one’s self over and over.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Jun 2010 @ 12:00 AM

  309. Re Gilles –

    1. The scarcity of fossil fuels does limit the amount of fossil C that will be emitted (within a time frame such that they add to perturbation in atmospheric CO2 amount), but contigent on other factors, including competing energy sources.

    2. If there were no other costs to fossil fuels, then assuming an efficient market, the gradual switch from fossil fuel to alternatives and greater efficiency would procede in an optimal fashion.

    3. If there is some additional cost (AGW’s effects, ocean acification, and spills and mercury in fish, other stuff) to using fossil fuels, then the trajectory of fossil fuel use will not be optimal – it will be past optimal. The right tax would accelerate the switch to alternatives and greater efficiency in an optimal way.

    4. Of course, real markets have some inefficiencies (besides such simple (in principle) externalities.

    You had asked once before about the issue of people in the future burning the economically-recoverable fuel that we leave them as a result of such AGW policy:

    5. mass market advantage – will it still be economically recoverable if few people are using it?

    6. technology – will it still be economically recoverable given the economics of the alternatives in the future (depends on whether civilization collapses, which needn’t be from AGW – other risks are there)

    7. If it is at a sufficiently later date, then atmospheric CO2 will have dropped back. If is is released at sufficiently a slow-enough rate, it needn’t necessarily be a real problem.

    8. Who knows what people will decide to do in response to natural climate change 10,000 to millions to billions of years from now? Will we let the ice ages procede out of curiosity and for the fun of it? Will we grow fins? Will we build a giant shade in response to a brightenning sun? Will we move the Earth to a larger orbit? Will we genetically engineer plants that use TiO2 as a pigment for photosynthesis (UV-powered white plants)? Will chocolate still taste the same? – I hope so.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Jun 2010 @ 12:19 AM

  310. Gavin, for Gilles and others — when you refer people to AR4 WG1 Fig. 9.5, they should get a link to the page with the text of the caption explaining what those pictures mean.

    It’s a powerful image, but the text of the caption explaining the image is essential.
    Here are a few prior mentions, with bits quoted from and links to the caption text.

    (I agree with Gavin that Gilles isn’t likely to understand it, but for new readers coming along later, do look it up, you’ll be able to learn a lot from that reference)

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+IPCC+AR4+WG1+Fig+9.5+%2Bcaption

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jun 2010 @ 12:22 AM

  311. PS, I’d forgotten how hard it is to find that caption for fig 9.5.
    Rather than leave the above as a scavenger hunt, here’s
    – how to find the caption,
    – the caption full text, and
    – a link:
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=2806#comment-162254

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jun 2010 @ 12:36 AM

  312. David#298 : if your simple model were really meaningful, it should be the basis of current research and well developed in IPCC reports. Is it the case and where ? If not, do you consider that IPCC has missed a simple and efficient way of proving the effect of GHG ?

    SecularAnimist#299 “Dangerous global warming is occurring NOW, the result of the fossil fuels that we have already burned.”

    I’m perplex : if you can’t define a significantly “more dangerous” level, above some integrated amount of burned FF, what’s the point of trying to reduce them ? if it’s all already done, let’s finish the rest and prepare to the consequences that will happen whatever we do.

    #306 Ray
    actually forecasts of oil production have been rather over-optimistic these last years, so I think people thought more things would be possible in the future, than what actually happened.

    “Even if prices are higher, there will be 1.5 times as many people consuming energy and probably most will be living at a significantly higher standard than they are today.”

    May be, but then why would a tax change this situation ?

    “WRT rising temperatures–there have been very few sustained epochs (over many decades) of warming at the paces we are now seeing. ”

    This sentence is kind of an answer to my question : “very few”, statistically speaking, really means that the current slope should be outside by more than one sigma from the central value of comparable epochs on the same time interval (or equivalently that the amplitude of the Fourier component at T^-1 exceeds by a lot the natural PSD at this frequency).

    This may be true again – but my only question is : where is the scientific evidence proving that ? if you can’t answer this very basic question, you can’t be surprised that some people emit doubts about it.

    Comment by Gilles — 30 Jun 2010 @ 1:03 AM

  313. [edit - one-a-day remember?]

    Comment by Gilles — 30 Jun 2010 @ 4:56 AM

  314. Hank : I don’t think I misunderstand Fig 9.5, which really deals with attribution in the sense I recalled : assuming we understand well enough the background “noise” (which would be rather a “known signal” in this case ), to substract it and evaluate correctly the anthropogenic residual. Of course this is perfectly arguable – the only thing is that it is much less comfortable than the case when the signal clearly emerges (at a several , say 5 sigma level) from a unknown noise, because in this case you don’t have really to justify that you understand very well the noise – actually you don’t care at all about it.

    In the opposite case, you have to convince people that you REALLY understand very well the noise. And that can be a little bit .. tricky. Shall I consider that you’re likely to understand what I’m saying ?

    [Response: Sigh.... you are talking about attribution, and we discussed that all last month. Please read that discussion again before repeating things that are irrelevant to the situation we actually have. - gavin]

    Comment by Gilles — 30 Jun 2010 @ 5:04 AM

  315. Gilles, you are asking the wrong question. Until you understand enough to ask the right questions, you will remain firmly at sea.

    When you are asking the wrong questions, you get answers that don’t help you.

    I think perhaps you need to be a little less credulous when accepting things coming from some of the other sources you seem to be reading. (5 sigma? That nonsense has Motl’s fingerprints all over it.) Try to apply the same level of scepticism to everything you read, not just to people with whom you disagree.

    Comment by Didactylos — 30 Jun 2010 @ 5:44 AM

  316. Gilles wrote: “if it’s all already done, let’s finish the rest and prepare to the consequences that will happen whatever we do.”

    Thank you for reminding me, with that bit of drivel, just exactly why discussions with you are a foolish waste of time.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 30 Jun 2010 @ 6:56 AM

  317. Didactylos : saying that asking about the significance of a variation is a “wrong question” sounds rather strangely for a scientist. FYI : I don’t know the works and writings of Mr Motl. 5 sigmas is the standard requirement of the international experimental collaboration I’m belonging to, before claiming a detection. I wouldn’t dare argue that it is nonsense before them, but I can invite you to do so it if you want.

    Comment by Gilles — 30 Jun 2010 @ 7:06 AM

  318. 317 : Secular animist : there wasn’t any irony in my answer. Do you think there is a reachable threshold it is worth keeping below , and if yes, which one, and how much GtC would produce it ? it’s unclear after what you said !

    Comment by Gilles — 30 Jun 2010 @ 9:24 AM

  319. Gilles,

    you keep asking why a tax would make a difference in fossil fuel consumption. I understand why you ask the question. After all, assuming substantial use of unconventional fossil fuels (UFFs) in the BAU scenario, suggests a certain amount of insensitivity to price (assuming UFFs are significantly more expensive than conventional fossil fuels).

    My first thought is that adding the cost of a carbon tax to the already higher cost of UFFs will make less carbon-intensive energy sources that much more attractive, encouraging more switching to alternative energy sources. The higher the tax, the larger that incentive. What’s more, if we actually use proceeds of the carbon tax to subsidize R&D and implementation of low-carbon alternatives, we get a multiplier effect.

    More importantly, I think most people who are adequately concerned about combating climate change prefer a cap-and-trade system anyway. A carbon tax is, IMHO, not up to the task. We have a lot less ability to determine the correct tax to bring about the desired decrease in demand than we have the ability to determine how much more carbon we can add to the atmosphere. So, set the cap (akin to there being limited amounts of a resource), and let markets determine the price. It’s the amount of CO2e, not the price that’s really important.

    Cheers!

    Comment by MartinJB — 30 Jun 2010 @ 11:59 AM

  320. Oh, Gilles, Gilles, Gilles.

    Why do we waste our time? You are clearly not posting in good faith. As such, you don’t deserve any answers.

    Comment by Didactylos — 30 Jun 2010 @ 1:45 PM

  321. Gilles asks, “May be, but then why would a tax change this situation ?”

    A tax on a particular energy source makes other sources more attractive. It may also spur innovation as inventive minds try to figure out ways to decrease costs. If you change the incentives, you may redirect peoples efforts away from finding ever cheaper ways of digging up the entire Orinoco basis and toward developing a sustainable energy infrastructure. You also may cause fossil fuels to better reflect their true cost, including environmental degradation.

    As opposed to now, where we have 1)fossil fuels directly subsidized by government tax and land use regulations; 2)driving foreign and military policy of the entire industrialized world. I would like nothing better than to be able to tell the Oil barons they can keep their oil-filled sandboxes.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Jun 2010 @ 2:28 PM

  322. Gilles, above:
    > when the signal clearly emerges (at a several , say 5 sigma level)
    > from a unknown noise,… you don’t have really to justify that you
    > understand very well the noise ….

    Climatologists don’t ignore natural “noise” — look at a big signal in the paleo record; natural forcings explain it. Understanding the “noise” is basic to understanding the anthropogenic signal.

    Example:
    Kick-starting ancient warming
    E. G. Nisbet et al., Nature Geoscience 2, 156 – 159 (2009)
    doi:10.1038/ngeo454

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n3/full/ngeo454.html
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n3/extref/ngeo454-s1.pdf
    “… we are concerned only with the event that triggered the PETM. No attempt is made to model the entire climate behaviour over the PETM itself…. such a triggering warming occurs over decades to centuries …. we start by defining specific geological processes that can release greenhouse gases.”

    Tamino, at http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/the-power-and-perils-of-statistics/ wrote:

    “There’s nothing wrong with 5-sigma, we’d all love to have it all the time, but *requiring* it is indeed ludicrous…. a 5-sigma standard ignores *most* of what can be learned…. the suggestion that results which don’t reach 5 sigma should be discounted is nothing but a recipe for missing out on a lot of good science…. Sometimes it’s downright impossible — how many times should we repeat the global-warming experiment?”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jun 2010 @ 2:53 PM

  323. # 318

    5 sigmas is the standard requirement..

    for X, and 2 sigmas may be more suitable for lots of different Y’s.

    What’s X by the way?

    If you were warned not to drive your car home, would you ignore the advice unless it came with a 99.999% (or whatever) probability that a wheel would fall off in the next 10 miles?.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 Jun 2010 @ 3:25 PM

  324. To demangle my previous remark.

    The quote ends after the first line.
    My comment on it begins on the 2nd. line

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 Jun 2010 @ 3:30 PM

  325. FoGT examines Jim “Torquemada” Prall, suggesting that nobody signing an petition ever expected the Spanish Inquisition: Global Inquisition into Spanish Warming

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Jun 2010 @ 4:10 PM

  326. Gilles (313) — I could not of developed such a simple model without using information in the IPCC AR4 WG1 report and rathr more as well; see the notes in that link. Later I learned of the existence of Tol, R.S.J. and A.F. de Vos (1998), ‘A Bayesian Statistical Analysis of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect’, Climatic Change, 38, 87-112, which does much the same, more thoroughly, but didn’t include the AMO as an index of intrnal variability.

    Such a simple model is not an attribution sudy; there are plenty of those. For example, Hegerel et al. (2006) was of particular interest to me. I left out the possiblity of a linear trend, due to whatever. If included, the best fitting trend is 0.063 K/century. Orbital forcing? Sun? In any case, simply overwhelmed by the CO2 induced warming.

    The point for such a simple model is that it should be accessible to most as a starting point, readily duplicatable on one’s own, to provide an approximate understanding of the instrumental record. Notice I also made an actual prediction in the linke comment.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 30 Jun 2010 @ 5:27 PM

  327. 320: MartinJB said: “I think most people who are adequately concerned about combating climate change prefer a cap-and-trade system [to a carbon tax] anyway.”

    Neither Jim Hansen nor my young friend who just graduated w/ honors from Berkeley with an economics degree prefer cap-and-trade to a carbon tax. I tend to listen to them but you’re welcome to try to convince me why cap-and-trade is superior to a carbon tax.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 30 Jun 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  328. http://www.google.com/search?q=international+experimental+collaboration+claim+detection

    leads to a variety of sources that might come from whatever physics program Gilles is involved in.

    This for example is helpful:

    “Posted by Zachary Marshall on 10 Apr 2010 at 02:11 pm

    Physicists try to be very clear about what they say (believe it or not!). If we claim to have “discovered” something, then millions, or even billions, of dollars could be put towards studying it. We’d better be sure!

    Here are a couple of nice pictures we can talk about. Both are taken from the Particle Data Group…. And both of these are measurements as they have evolved with time…. it looks like the first measurements of the neutron lifetime were way off! And, contrarily, it looks like the W-boson mass measurements might even be too good! Either way, it is satisfying to see error bars on all these measurements. That part is really important! It allows the possibility that you’re wrong.

    … When ever we physicists claim to discover a new particle, for example, we require that it be outside the expected error bar by at least five times the error bar’s width (called five standard deviations or five “sigma” …. Three sigma is often called “observation,” two sigma is often called “evidence.” And we usually choose to consider something new “excluded” if it is ruled out by three sigma….

    This sounds complicated, but it’s all to ensure that we are very confident about what we’ve seen before announcing to the world that we have discovered a new particle! If you trust your error bars completely, five sigma means the chance we’re wrong is 0.00006%!! And this is also what we spend a huge amount of our time on: making sure those error bars are honest!

    Next time I’ll talk a bit about what happens if we’re wrong!…”

    From:
    http://blogs.uslhc.us/being-careful

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Jun 2010 @ 9:12 PM

  329. Well, Mr. Pearson, I wasn’t trying to convince you. I was really just expressing my observation of what people think about how to combat global warming. Regardless, my rationale is pretty simple. Cap and trade provides a direct signal to markets: This is how much CO2e you have to play with. With a carbon tax, you set it and hope it has the desired impact on demand. Obviously, one can adjust, but sacrifices predictability.

    There are a lot of details and caveats I gloss over, but the broad principal is, I think, pretty robust.

    Now, I know nothing about your friend except that he has a possibly relevant degree from Berkeley. Hansen is a terrific scientist, but I don’t know about his background in markets and resource economics. What are their rationales for their opinions? That might be a better place to start than just taking their word for it. Your call.

    But this is really a distraction. The post was about Gilles’s sorta straw-man.

    Cheers!

    Comment by MartinJB — 30 Jun 2010 @ 10:09 PM

  330. Re 330 MartinJB

    The principle of a tax can be based on the net public cost. This is of course not a simple matter to compute, but for the same reason, it is not a simple matter to compute what level a cap should be set at. Ideally, The cap should be set so that the market produces the same price signal that the tax would impose, while the tax would keep emissions at the level of what would be the cap.

    A nonlinearity in principle can be dealt with by simulating the trajectory of total value (the value that we want to optimize) and finding the tax that produces the greatest values.

    The cap becomes more obviously preferable if the public cost per unit emission sharply increases beyond that point.

    A cap is predictable for emissions and potentially unpredictable for price signal. A tax is predictable for price signal and potentially unpredictable for emissions. However, a tax can be started low (which we’d want to do anyway so as to not shock the economy) and ramped up, and adjusted as necessary. The emissions in one particular year can be higher or lower without much difference in effect if combined with a complemetary shift in another year; a tax allows such flexibility; maybe caps do as well but I’m not sure. Caps have to be auctioned (ideally) or else given away. On the other hand, perhaps caps are more amenable to international trade? But a tax can come with tariffs/subsidies on imports/exports to balance differing national policies.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Jun 2010 @ 11:43 PM

  331. …it is not a simple matter to compute what level a cap should be set at. – oh, well, maybe simpler, but …

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Jun 2010 @ 11:44 PM

  332. 321 Dydactylos : this, at least, is totally wrong.

    Let me state as clearly as possible that I’m posting here in a total good faith – I may be wrong , like anybody, but I expose as clearly as possible all the problems and the contradictions I can see in many speeches about GW. I do it because I can’t understand them, and only because that – for the simple reason that I am not involved in any party , I have absolutely no financial (despite what some of you apparently believed) and even no scientific involvement in any climate or energy issue. I am only a scientist and a citizen, and I try to apply my scientific understanding to a citizen problem. I agree that many of the issues I’d like to discuss do not imply directly climate science and should perhaps be discussed elsewhere, such as the amount of FF reserves, the effect of a tax, the discussion about the benefit-cost of fossils and so on, but they are nevertheless important in the debate, and many of you seem to have also some ideas about them.

    So hearing here digressive comments about the number of posts, my bad or good faith, my intellectual qualities, my capacities of listening or understanding, and whether my questions are “right ” or “wrong” really don’t help me much. I think at 48 that I know pretty well who I am, thanks for trying to help me but I don’t really need your help. If my questions are wrong, please tell me WHY and not just “you’re wrong”.

    Comment by Gilles — 1 Jul 2010 @ 12:56 AM

  333. 327 : David Benson : So what is the central value and the dispersion of the average slope in the previous centuries ? I guess that the central value is pretty close to zero, but that is the standard deviation ? Is it really something like 0.15 or 0.2 K/ century or smaller , or not ? where is the scientific assessment of this dispersion ? already since the current value is estimated by modern thermometers and a world wide grid that weren’t available in the past times, a precise determination of this dispersion is obviously a tough task.

    The other answers do address a different problem : They don’t answer the question of whether we HAVE a 3 or 5 sigma signal, but rather whether we NEED such a signal before acting. Obviously this is a different issue – it doesn’t belong strictly speaking to the field of climate science, and I don’t how much we are allowed to elaborate on this here (the exact border of what is on and off topics on RC is still slightly unclear for me) .

    But it some sense , it is a confirmation of what I said ; arguing that we don’t NEED it only makes sense if we don’t HAVE it – of course if we had it , as I said, the issue would be much simpler.

    Comment by Gilles — 1 Jul 2010 @ 1:19 AM

  334. GW : it all depends on benefits and costs. In you example, of course I will repair my wheel, because the cost of doing it is incomparably smaller. Now if a country was told that there is a 99.999 % chance that there will be more than 30 000 casualties in car crashes for the coming year, with a cost larger than 100 billions of $ , would it ban the use of cars? the answer is no of course, because actually US know it, and don’t ban cars. But this is not climate science.

    Comment by Gilles — 1 Jul 2010 @ 1:27 AM

  335. HotRod #243: it’s not a false dichotomy. There was an active and vocal AIDS denial movement that according to one estimate caused over 300,000 unnecessary deaths in South Africa.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 1 Jul 2010 @ 5:09 AM

  336. Gilles, 5 sigma is a reasonable standard if you are doing a huge number of measurements to detect an unlikely event. For example, if you do a billion measurements, observing an event once that has p=1E-9 is not surprising.

    That is not the scenario we are dealing with here.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 1 Jul 2010 @ 5:20 AM

  337. 334 : Philip : it is by no mean necessary to make a huge number of measurements before observing a 5 sigma event, because the “sigma” is evaluated with the noise WITHOUT the external cause that superimposes to the noise. You routinely detect much above 5 sigmas when you read any text or listen to any conversation. The point is here to detect something that is supposed to have significantly changed with respect to a former situation.

    Comment by Gilles — 1 Jul 2010 @ 8:59 AM

  338. 330: MartinJB said: about cap and trade versus taxes:

    I’ll try to understand Hansen’s rationale well enough to explain it over the next day or so, and perhaps my economist friend’s as well. Hansen walked through these arguments in “Storms of My Grandchildren”.

    My friend said that taxes are more efficient. Among Hansen’s arguments were that cap and trade removes incentive for individuals to reduce their CO2 emissions since it just gives someone else the right to emit more.

    330: MArtinJB said: “this is really a distraction. The post was about Gilles’s sorta straw-man.”

    Actually Gilles’ straw-men are the distraction. Effective policy is far important than arguing over nonsensical straw-men. I don’t think Krugman particularly agrees or disagrees with advantages of cap & trade versus a tax:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/magazine/11Economy-t.html?pagewanted=5&_r=1

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 1 Jul 2010 @ 9:57 AM

  339. Gilles:
    > You routinely detect much above 5 sigmas when you read any text

    Not yours, sorry. All I detect is “anything but the IPCC” noise.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Jul 2010 @ 11:04 AM

  340. Regarding modern versus past rate of temperature increase – I downloaded data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center[1] and calculated the change in temperature versus time interval(s). No annual rate of change in either dataset exceeded the 0.0075 degree per year change in HadCRUTv3[2]. Because of limitations in Appleworks, the ranges only covered ~100k 0r 240k years,or 480+ datapoints, depending on the dataset. There were less than ten datapoints in either dataset (<3%) that exceeded HALF the rate of change that we have measured in the last century.

    In other news, http://www.thehindubusinessline.com has announced "Northwest India may have to wait beyond July 6 to see the onset of monsoon rains, according to latest updates by international models. The US National Centres for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) is of the view that entire Rajasthan, parts of west Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand and Jammu and Kashmir may be denied timely onset of the rains."

    [1] ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/domefuji/df-d18o-340ka-dfo2006.txt ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/domefuji/df-tsite-340ka-dfo2006.txt
    The d18O data(first URL) is sampled at 500 year intervals, and the derived temperature data(second URL) is at 250 year intervals.
    [2] http://www.woodfortrees.org/data/hadcrut3vgl/from:1910/to:2010/trend

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 1 Jul 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  341. Warmest June in the Central England Temp record was 1846. Data just released …..dont panic !

    Comment by Bill — 1 Jul 2010 @ 1:42 PM

  342. Gilles says: “it is by no mean necessary to make a huge number of measurements before observing a 5 sigma event, because the “sigma” is evaluated with the noise WITHOUT the external cause that superimposes to the noise.”

    Gilles, come on. You can’t be that ignorant of statistics! Think about what you write before you write it.

    Bill@342 That might be a comfort if the entire world were bounded by Central England. Last I saw, it was not. Maybe go check a map.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Jul 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  343. or you look at at a good longterm temp record

    Comment by Bill — 1 Jul 2010 @ 2:55 PM

  344. Bill@344, and that, too, might be a comfort if we had a complex civilization that had survived the PETM. I know of none. You?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Jul 2010 @ 3:59 PM

  345. Many mid-USA temp data sets show the same picture as the CET .for example :http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=425726770010&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1

    Comment by Bill — 1 Jul 2010 @ 4:19 PM

  346. Gilles (327) — You could try looking at the almost two dozen “hockey stick” papers. MOre simply, and longer ago, the great (6 K) change during the transition from LGM to Holocene took about 60 centuries; an average of 0.1 K/century during a time of dramatic change in comparison to most of the prior 115,000 years.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 1 Jul 2010 @ 4:36 PM

  347. Human-Made Global Warming Started With Ancient Hunters
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100630162353.htm

    Comment by David B. Benson — 1 Jul 2010 @ 8:58 PM

  348. Hank, Ray : Take a single picture of a star with a telescope, evaluate the background around it by measuring the number of photons in similar apertures on the “black” sky, and the associated statistical photon noise, and you very easily have a 5 sigma signal. You don’t even need a lot of photons, some high energy observations with very low backgrounds can detect a significant signal with one single photon !

    David : I read some hockey stick papers, and I didn’t find where the slope measured in a homogeneous way by the proxies exceeds the natural noise. What exceed the natural noise are the instrumental temperatures, but you don’t really know what they would have been in the past since they simply don’t exist before the time they are supposed to grow. So contrary to the picture of the star, you don’t have a proper “black sky” to calibrate the noise.

    The answer about LGM/holocene transition is not relevant because you sample the variability on different timescales, whereas my question was about the statistical noise AT THE SAME TIMESCALE. in other words , you compare different frequencies of the power spectral distribution. This is by no ways innocent : the SLOPE of the temperature rise from 6 am to 12 am of a summer day is much, much greater than any slope you will measure at the year scale or the century scale … but nobody worries about it of course.

    Comment by Gilles — 2 Jul 2010 @ 12:20 AM

  349. Gilles says, “Take a single picture of a star with a telescope, evaluate the background around it by measuring the number of photons in similar apertures on the “black” sky, and the associated statistical photon noise, and you very easily have a 5 sigma signal.”

    Great, Gilles, now go publish a paper based on this 5 sigma signal. The question is not whether you can engineer a 5-sigma signal, but rather what is necessary for confidence in a result. Two sigma will do in most cases, and 3 you can take to the bank. OTOH, I saw six-sigma signals from particle physics experiments that were absolutely beautiful, but had the wrong sign of particles. You concentrate way too much on numbers and too little on how those numbers are determined.

    [edit - stay substantive please]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jul 2010 @ 4:39 AM

  350. Re #335

    Now if a country was told that there is a 99.999 % chance that there will be more than 30 000 casualties in car crashes for the coming year, with a cost larger than 100 billions of $ , would it ban the use of cars? the answer is no

    Apart from distorting my analogy, you have shifted your ground. Your example illustrates a case for which 100% (as good as makes no difference) certainty would be insuffient. Why point this out?

    It suggests that lack of certainty (number of sigmas) is not your real concern. If the certainty were to rise, you would be ready with the money issue.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 2 Jul 2010 @ 8:30 AM

  351. “Great, Gilles, now go publish a paper based on this 5 sigma signal.”

    well ..like this one for instance ???

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.5289

    (actually it is 5.6 sigmas…)

    let me be clear again : my point was NOT that you require 5 sigmas or more with respect to some background variation. It is that you require 5 sigmas or more (if you want to be “sure” ) with respect to some uncertainty. IF you know precisely enough the background (which is no more a background “noise” but rather a background “signal”) , and that you can confidently substract it, it’s ok. BUT you must at least justify that you are confident in the value of your background.

    Of course Fig 9.5 doesn’t tell anything else. The blue curves “without anthropogenic influences” are displayed precisely for this very reason : as the variation, in itself, does not clearly exceed the preindustrial variability , the attribution can be done only by substraction with a supposed “known” background, which is NOT supposed to be fully noisy (it is thus more a systematic uncertainty than a statistical one).

    So the difference is accurately determined ONLY at the level at which the background is well determined – I don’t think that IPCC redactors would contradict me. But the burden of the proof is then transferred to how to justify how well the “natural background” is known. I don’t think that is such an obvious task – of course it is the result of GCM but the problem is how to validate the result WITHOUT the anthropogenic signal since the actual signal is really a combination of both…

    Very honestly, for instance, if I were asked how well the curves fit the 1900-1950 signal, without knowing anything of what is displayed, just “blindly”, I would probably say (at least I think so) : aheem… not so well.

    I try to be very honest in giving this answer, forgetting that I actually know what it is about, and trying to answer like a normal scientist on a ideology-free issue. I think I would answer that on a number of objective reasons :

    * the average slope before 1940 is not very well reproduced

    * the break is not at the right date : there is no theoretical break around 1940 where the observations obviously seem to break , and there is no clear observed feature around 1963 (Agung explosion) where the model break – actually none of the volcanic eruptions shows a distinctive feature, as significative as in the models.

    * it is a rather strange thing to compare the observations with a set of models, or even an average. Usually you compare them to the best one. Comparing to a set of model broadens the span of results and give an impression of agreement “within the error bars”, but actually none of the model (nor the average) seems to provide a really satisfactory fit. And there is an obvious selection effect that on average, the selected published models will be close to the observations, but that the disagreements may more or less cancel statistically : I wouldn’t be surprised if ON AVERAGE, astrological predictions would be shown to give a reasonable rate of various catastrophes, earthquakes,

    and so on …

    So you can argue as much as you want about the inaccuracy of SST measurements, the possible influence of ill-know aerosols or the influence of WWII, and so on…. But I’m only answering a “blind” question about a figure (which I’m totally unaware of how it has been obtained).

    Furthermore if you add the knowledge that models have been “recentered” to fit exactly the average value of the 1900-1950 period, so that the agreement of the average is granted from the beginning, the overall quality of the fit is even more questionable – Note that if it is in the IPCC report, it is probably the best that modelers can produce.

    Comment by Gilles — 2 Jul 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  352. georg :Your example illustrates a case for which 100% (as good as makes no difference) certainty would be insuffient. Why point this out?”

    My point was only that scientific issue of quantifying the likelihood of some quantitative parameter is very different from the issue of whether we should act or not – the latter implying many more considerations that the purely scientific facts. I just gave this example as an illustration : actually the number of casualties , and more the amount of QALYs suppressed by the car crashes are probably the most expensive human cost associated to the use of fossil fuels – although I seldom hear people advocating their suppression just because of that ! usually people ask only for hybrid or electric cars, which wouldn’t solve this issue of course. So it seems that the hundred of millions of foreseen victims in the next century due to car crashes do not count as much as polar bears …

    Comment by Gilles — 2 Jul 2010 @ 12:07 PM

  353. car crashes are probably the most expensive human cost associated to the use of fossil fuels – although I seldom hear people advocating their suppression just because of that

    Maybe most juridstictions have mandatory insurance laws because they’ve recognized that risk? Let’s consider the risks of continued FF burning without restriction – maybe we should have some insurance? Note that actual property insurance entities are increasingly avoiding weather related risks.

    Comment by flxible — 2 Jul 2010 @ 4:48 PM

  354. Back in the early days of electronics, DC power supplies were often filtered but not regulated. The residual power supply ripple would couple into the amplifier chain, resulting in low frequency noise – “hum” – which would interfere with the signal(s) of interest. To be technically more accurate, this hum isn’t noise per se, but an interfering signal; however, random Gaussian noise, pink noise, thermal noise from hot filaments in tube amps, resistor shot noise, and interfering signals from power line pickup, or radio frequency interference from motor brushes, or arc welding, or cell phone towers – all reduce the detectable signal in electronics.
    A. If the signal of interest (e.g. audio) and the interfering “noise” (e.g., cell phone rf) are at sufficiently different frequencies, the “noise” can be removed by low pass filtering.
    B. Since the source of hum in many early electronic amplifiers was well known and quantified -power supply ripple- it was often removed as “noise” by introducing a scaled amount of the ripple into the amplifier chain so as to cancel its effect at the output.

    We can apply the same principles as A to warming caused by CO2 – see [1]; you can see the effect of lowering the passband by increasing the mean samples number in series 3. The limit in low frequency is shown by series 4, whereby all high frequencies are mathematically eliminated, leaving only the expected signal.

    We can also apply the same principles as B to warming. If we detrend HadCRUT, analogous to removing the DC leaving only the power supply ripple, and subtract this (ENSO, PDO, AMO, SSN, Pinatubo, etc) “hum” from the signal+noise of UAH temperature measurements, we can also improve our Signal to Noise Ratio.[2][3a] If we take as our definition of SNR as being equal to the expected signal(OLS range) divided by the standard deviation of the residual[4], the SNR is 3.5. if we remove high frequency noise by 6 month smoothing, essentially leaving seasonal or longer differences but removing short term(e.g.monthly) noise, the SNR rises to 5.1. We also expect from the physics of CO2 infrared absorption and radiation that temperatures would rise proportional to the log of the increase in CO2 concentration. [3b]

    [1] http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1900/plot/esrl-co2/scale:0.008/offset:-2.6/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1900/mean:36/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1900/trend
    [2] http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1980/plot/esrl-co2/scale:0.008/offset:-2.6/from:1980/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1980/detrend:0.487308
    [3] http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/snr_t_co2_correlation-ceSt1.jpg
    [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_to_noise_ratio

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 2 Jul 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  355. I work for an insurance company. We are constantly re-computing our risk factors based upon the latest empirical data. When the real world changes (highway speed limits, etc.) the results of these computations change and are reflected in the premiums we charge. So our customers are financially bound to predictive calculations that are based upon empirical data. If you choose to purchase a risky vehicle, that choice will be reflected in your premium.

    This is a pretty good analogy to Climate science, except we have yet to assign a financial cost to human decisions that increase our risk. When I drive my vehicle across a bridge I don’t think about the taxes I paid to maintain that bridge. Mankind is now being asked to consider thinking about paying extra for the health of earths infrastructure.

    And don’t forget this popular video regarding global warming risks;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zORv8wwiadQ

    Pete

    Comment by Pete Wirfs — 2 Jul 2010 @ 5:53 PM

  356. Brian Dodge (355) — Nice. My filter
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530
    is fairly crude, adequate for 13 decaes of data.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 2 Jul 2010 @ 6:54 PM

  357. Gilles, The thing you are ignoring is that the character of the signal and that of the noise are very different. The noise is all pretty much short timescale, while the signal persists for decades–or even millennia. That is why we know the role of CO2 in the climate so well–a long-lived, well mixed greenhouse gas stands out like a sore thumb.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Jul 2010 @ 8:00 PM

  358. Gilles – also note that global average surface temperature is only one of many variables that can be modelled, observed, and analyzed.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Jul 2010 @ 12:17 AM

  359. 358 : Ray : I don’t ignore it, but i don’t know if it is true or not. And that’s precisely the question I asked. Saying that the low frequency noise is much lower than the high frequency means that you have an idea of its power spectral distribution (a blue noise in this case). But it would have exactly the consequence that I said : the natural, preanthropogenic variability at the relevant time scale (decades , centuries , millennia ) , which is precisely related to the amplitude of the FT at this frequency, should be much lower than the observed signal. And it should produce precisely what I said : a modern variation significantly (several sigmas) higher than the previous, natural one, averaged on this relevant time scale. This is all the same criterion, expressed in different manners.

    So your claim is that you KNOW that the level of noise at this relevant scale is much lower than the observed modern variation – my only question is , how do you know that ?

    [edit]

    Comment by Gilles — 3 Jul 2010 @ 12:59 AM

  360. Bill 346,

    Try looking at the global average, for God’s sake.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Jul 2010 @ 5:27 AM

  361. > Bill
    > Many mid-USA temp data sets show the same picture as the CET

    Bill, see the Start Here link at the top of each page, and the first link under Science at the right sidebar.

    You’re new; you haven’t read the basic information; you have not taken a statistics class. So you’re repeating one of the elementary mistakes people make, either because you thought of it yourself or read it somewhere else and brought it here thinking it was a clever idea.

    There’s no shame in being fooled once. There’s a big business in fooling people all the time.

    Don’t be fooled again.

    Read the basic Start Here information, and get a basic understanding why you can’t pick numbers happen to like out of a large collection. It’s often called “cherrypicking” — as in picking only the ripe ones off the tree leaving the rest.

    Once you’ve taken Statistics 101, you’ll understand why this is a classic fail. Until then you need to find someone you trust to help you.

    If you’re trusting someone who’s telling you it’s smart to pick just a few numbers out of a large collection — you’re being fooled.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jul 2010 @ 8:27 AM

  362. 359 Patrick : Of course. My question holds for ANY parameter. Including local ones, since apart from climate scientists and RC readers, most people are only sensitive to what happen around them, not to global averages.

    Of course I wouldn’t deny that they are many local parameters whose variation over 100 years has been much larger than at any other epoch , a lot of sigmas higher, and first demography, with all consequences on land use, pollution, and so on… I wouldn’t swear local temperature is among them.

    Comment by Gilles — 3 Jul 2010 @ 10:31 AM

  363. Gilles, So YOU don’t know, and therefore you assume nobody else does?

    Have you met the good doctors Dunning and Kruger?

    Gilles, that is what Tamino does. I would recommend perusing some articles at his place. JUST READ. Tamino has a very low BS tolerance threshold, and if you aren’t careful, you could become the subject of a post rather than a commenter.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Jul 2010 @ 1:05 PM

  364. RE those that responded re Hansen (#244), thanks for your info. I couldn’t really imagine there was anything to it….

    RE #244 (John Pearson) & “Lynn I expect your poster was wearing “the juice”: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1/?scp=1&sq=%22the%20juice%22&st=cse

    Liked that “too stupid to know one is stupid” thing. I was discussing “A BEAUTIFUL MIND” with a friend just today, and in that case, which is sort of opposite, the brilliant mathematician, with help from others, was so brilliant that he was finally able to understand he was experiencing delusions, and to some extent figure out what was delusional and what was reality. He was able to do reality checks, and this is key.

    Bec I am not a climate scientist, I’ve had to frequently do “reality checks” about climate change when naysayers do throw all sort of stuff out there. Anyway you look at it, climate change deserves to be treated as reality. There’s just no other way to look at it. The threats are so serious, one does not need 95% confidence, or even70% confidence. I think 10% confidence (which even the worst skeptice or denialist should have, at the very least) is quite enough to mitigate like heck. There is just no other way an intelligent, rational, good willed person can think of it.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 4 Jul 2010 @ 12:26 AM

  365. RAy : I know ; I tried to ask Tamino some questions, he obviously couldn’t answer. I’ve been ejected from his blog. Even if I was wrong, that’s not my conception of open scientific debate – were I wrong, he could have explained openly why. You can omit the “BS”, I think.

    I don’t assume nobody knows. I just ask questions. Very simple one : is there anywhere a power spectrum of the natural, preanthropogenic global average temperature , or any other climate indicator ? I never saw such a thing, even in IPCC reports, and I doubt very much it exists, simply because of the lack of high quality data (which no one can charge climate scientists for, naturally); but if doesn’t exist, you are simply unable to quantify the current variation, at some definite timescale , with respect to the “usual” former variation at the same timescale. Actually you may notice that in the first introducing post, it is carefully omitted to say that climate scientists think the current variation is highly unusual : the “unusual variation” all relies on models, and extrapolation, not on current measurements. I don’t think I contradict official science by saying that.

    [Response: Any kind of attribution in any kind of system is a function of a model. In particle physics there is a model and they look for deviations from that, so it is in climate science. But given the different sources of data and size of the system, the models and detection of changes are different, though in each case the methods have evolved as a function of the history. It would also be different for epidemiologists, or vulcanologists, or cosmologists. - gavin]

    Comment by Gilles — 4 Jul 2010 @ 1:57 AM

  366. [Response: I leave that as an exercise for the reader (there are online resources you can use). But this paper is a clue. ;) - gavin]

    I recall reading that you were a math major. How did you ever end up doing what you are doing now?

    [Response: Math --> Applied Math --> Geophysical Fluid Dynamics --> simple climate models --> more complicated climate models. Driven by a combination of personal interests, available jobs and reception. - gavin]

    Comment by EL — 4 Jul 2010 @ 7:06 AM

  367. “the “unusual variation” all relies on models” Gilles — 4 July 2010 @ 1:57 AM

    To expand on Gavin’s comment “Any kind of attribution in any kind of system is a function of a model,” let me point out the following:

    One “unusual variation” is in our observation of increasing atmospheric CO2 coming from anthropogenic fossil fuel use, NOT MODELS.
    Another “unusual variation” is the observation of warming in the GISS, HadCRUT, & UAH temperature records, NOT MODELS.

    There may have been rapid climate changes in temperature/CO2 in the past due to supervolcanoes(Toba), asteroid strikes(Chixulub), continental rifting/methane hydrate destabilization (PETM), that have been faster than we see today. We don’t have detailed enough proxy observations to confirm or deny that. SO WHAT? They are irrelevant because they aren’t occurring and can’t explain the changes we observe happening NOW.

    Correlation between the “unusual” rise in CO2 and Temperature doesn’t prove causation; to infer causation requires a model. Every “greenhouse” model since Arrhennius’ first approximation requires that more CO2 in the atmosphere will cause Temperature to rise. Denial of modeling is denial of science.
    Arguing that your prediction of the future is better than IPCC scenarios, based on peak oil/ Hubbert model or trickle down socioeconomic models, is cherrypicking models which agree with your world view.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 4 Jul 2010 @ 12:02 PM

  368. > is there anywhere a power spectrum …?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=power+spectrum+of+the+natural%2C+preanthropogenic+global+average+temperature

    finds among much else (but also try Google Scholar of course)

    http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~phuybers/Doc/mean_variance.pdf
    The spatial mean and dispersion of surface temperatures over the last 1200 years: warm intervals are also variable intervals
    Martin P. Tingley · Peter Huybers

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jul 2010 @ 12:20 PM

  369. Gilles, what’s puzzling is how you so often ask questions you could answer for yourself, stating your assumption rather than checking it. If you’d instead say you did some searching on your own and what you found and ask questions based on information rather than belief it’d be more interesting.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/289/5477/270

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jul 2010 @ 12:23 PM

  370. http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Living_Planet_Symposium_2010/SEMGEUOZVAG_1.html#subhead1
    “… derived from the radar altimeter (RA2) instrument on ESA’s Envisat satellite, illustrating the variations in the surface height on ice sheet from 2003 to 2010. Many glaciers show red values at the beginning and deep blue at the end of the time series, indicating that they are thinning dramatically.”
    hat tip to Mike Allen at Tamino’s

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jul 2010 @ 12:29 PM

  371. Gilles wrote: “I don’t assume nobody knows. I just ask questions.”

    What you do is write in bad faith in order to deliberately waste people’s time. That is very obviously the sole purpose of your comments here: to impress yourself with your ability to waste people’s time.

    It is surprising that the moderators continue to permit your comments. They add NOTHING OF VALUE to the discussion, they are mere pointless sophistry, and everyone knows it.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 Jul 2010 @ 12:31 PM

  372. (actually it is 5.6 sigmas…)

    ~99.9999%

    Nice work if you can get it.

    We went to war over a 2% possibility. So, what constitutes sufficient evidence to act has a lot of variability.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 4 Jul 2010 @ 12:54 PM

  373. Re: SecularAnimist @ 4 July 2010 at 12:31 PM says:

    “What you do is write in bad faith in order to deliberately waste people’s time. That is very obviously the sole purpose of your comments here: to impress yourself with your ability to waste people’s time.

    It is surprising that the moderators continue to permit your comments. They add NOTHING OF VALUE to the discussion, they are mere pointless sophistry, and everyone knows it.”

    Well spoken. And seconded.

    Regards,

    Daniel the Yooper

    Comment by Daniel the Yooper — 4 Jul 2010 @ 1:12 PM

  374. Brian Dodge @ 368:

    Arguing that your prediction of the future is better than IPCC scenarios, based on peak oil/ Hubbert model or trickle down socioeconomic models, is cherrypicking models which agree with your world view.

    Uh, no. That would be incorrect.

    In any risk assessment =all= risks need to be analyzed. I happen to think that Gilles is just plain wrong, but I also happen to think that Peak Oil presents a far more serious, and far nearer term, risk than AGW. That the response to the threat of Peak Oil is the =same= as the response to threat of AGW is an added bonus.

    And while I'm in the 'hood, I mention this because some of the IPCC scenarios strike me as so absurd that I feel they are undermining the objectives that are common to both. In particular, suggesting that some of the more outrageous scenarios are even possible implies that someone thinks there is enough oil in the ground to pull them off. Since that serves to argue against Peak Oil (which is better supported than any IPCC model, I might add), I think it harms the long-term objective of getting off our oil addiction.

    This is not either / or. The worst case scenario is we don't act, and we wind up broke, out of fuel, and very warm. And this is a heck of a lot closer to happening than any of the IPCC predicted disasters — http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/11/peak-oil-production-supply

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 4 Jul 2010 @ 5:57 PM

  375. Brian :
    “One “unusual variation” is in our observation of increasing atmospheric CO2 coming from anthropogenic fossil fuel use, NOT MODELS.”

    Probably, yes.


    Another “unusual variation” is the observation of warming in the GISS, HadCRUT, & UAH temperature records, NOT MODELS.”

    Much less obvious, unless you can answer my first question : on which period of time do you have a good statistics of similar variations in the past, to show it’s really unusual ?


    There may have been rapid climate changes in temperature/CO2 in the past due to supervolcanoes(Toba), asteroid strikes(Chixulub), continental rifting/methane hydrate destabilization (PETM), that have been faster than we see today. We don’t have detailed enough proxy observations to confirm or deny that. SO WHAT? They are irrelevant because they aren’t occurring and can’t explain the changes we observe happening NOW.”

    That’s not the point. The point is that if you don’t have enough high quality proxies to measure accurately the variations within 30 years, you cannot firmly claim that the current change is unusual. That’s would be obvious for anybody , for any topics, were it not the GW one.

    “Arguing that your prediction of the future is better than IPCC scenarios, based on peak oil/ Hubbert model or trickle down socioeconomic models, is cherrypicking models”

    that’s slightly OT, but I argue that if the peak oil happens now, then the real world will be out of the set of all SRES model (or out of their convex envelope, if you prefer). That’s factual, there is no cherry picking. I didn’t really make a prediction – I assumed that the global amount of FF extracted would be close to the proved reserves only, without putting any constraint on the economic growth (implying it could decrease). You may or may not believe in it. I just observe that these scenarios do not belong to the set of IPCC ones (the reason is pretty obvious when you think of what the “I” means …. ).

    Hank Roberts : please check out first what a Power Spectral density is …

    J. Davies : as I said , the question of acting or not depends on much more than purely statistical facts. But i’m discussing here only statistics.

    For secularanimist and Daniel : I think the remark I did first about the significance of the current variation was pretty clearly expressed. So it may be right, and acknowledged as such, or wrong, and you can simply explain why (saying for instance : but Gilles, obviously the variation of the last 30 years is xxx °C whereas the standard deviation is only yyyy °C so we’ve got a signal/noise ration of xxxx/yyyy = zzzz. That’s as simple as that – a mere scientific answer.

    Any digression about the reason why I’m asking the question could appear as a way of not answering….

    Comment by Gilles — 4 Jul 2010 @ 6:47 PM

  376. FCH, also somewhat Gilles – remember coal. Tar sands. Etc. (or maybe you did, but some of the conversation seems to imply that it’s all oil).

    Gilles – There is a period of overlap between proxy records and instrumental data. Proxies have issues but nonetheless can provide useful information.

    I don’t know offhand about the rate of warming over the last 30 years relative to other 30-year periods**, but I do know offhand that evidence supports the most recent warmth is unusual for the last several hundred or more years. Consider melt occurence in regions that otherwise have intact ice records (no melting) going back for x years.

    There is also the matter that we understand the underlying physics (or at least a lot of it) behind the behavior. This is where it’s a bit different from theoretical particle physics – findind a new particle or not is testing the underlying physics itself. The level of physics necessary for climate modelling is of the type that can be accepted as established (except for some parameterizations).

    I suspect that, BAU, the rate of warming from 1970 to 2070 could be very unusual for 100-year periods for a long time into the past, though I’d defer to others who have studied climate records in more detail… (the sustained rate of increase in GHG forcing already is quite a bit larger than what occured in at least the last deglaciation – see graphs in ch 6 of IPCC AR4 WGI)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Jul 2010 @ 9:11 PM

  377. PS Gilles – traffic accidents:

    1. not a specific target of policies/actions regarding AGW, because it isn’t AGW (traffic accidents don’t generally change climate except via resources spent or not as a result; although climate change could affect traffic accidents).

    2. The analogy would be whether or not there is a 99.9…% or x% chance that a policy regarding traffic accidents would be a net good. For example, the law that vehicles should be driven on the right side of the road, the speed limits in various areas generally 15 – 65 mph depending, requirements of insurance, requiring testing and licences, making drunk driving illegal, etc. (George Will had written an article a few years ago comparing possible AGW policy to a global 5 mph speed limit; sure there would be fewer traffic accidents but would the cost be too great (what about lives, health and wellbeing, and wealth benifits from higher-speed transport?) – interesting analogy, but I would suggest that the question may be more like (regarding AGW): should we have an 85 mph speed limit as opposed to a 115 or 155 or 195 mph speed limit? (As of now, their is no speed limit, except in the physical limits of the vehicles – which is a point of contention for you.) Of course, the extent to which an individual can reduce his/her own traffic-risks might be different then that for AGW-risks – the later affecting people who can’t afford a car.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Jul 2010 @ 11:08 PM

  378. FurryCatHerder,

    Your position is absurd, and has been thoroughly shown to be so. Understand this: I am a Peak Oiler and pretty much a “doomer,” but I am up to here with this bizarre panting and heaving over Peak Oil vs. Climate Change. It’s like a very liberal and pretty liberal person arguing over whether Dick Cheney ran the WH or Bush did. It simply doesn’t matter.

    We have covered this already, but you appear to be immune to reason. This is the earmark of either ideology or being married to your position. Facts are facts and cannot be denied.

    Fact 1: Peak Oil cannot end civilization short of a full thermonuclear exchange in competition over resources. Climate Change of 6+ degrees pretty much guarantees it.

    Conclusion: Peak Oil does not trump ACC. Full stop.

    Fact 2: The PO as the greater (more imminent) threat requires the dismissal of Rapid Climate Change as being possible. Given we *do* know climate changes up to 7 degrees in a decade or less, it is just wrongheaded to dismiss this from risk assessment. Sorry, but you cannot simply dismiss facts.

    Fact 3: Quit jabbering about IPCC scenarios. They are based on research from 2005 and earlier! That is, they were out of date before being published and are badly out of date now. By the time the next is published in 2012, whether we have passed a tipping point WRT the Arctic will likely be a fact of history. If we have, and I say categorically here and now we have, we are all well and truly fracked with very, very limited choices and options ahead.

    Even if you completely dismiss my contention, you are still stuck with the historical record that shows very large changes in very short periods of time. To continually state climate cannot possibly change so fast nor get as warm as the IPCC scenarios say is to deny reality. That is a fool’s errand. No good risk assessment simply ignores real possibilities! When you do you get the market collapse we just had. That is what they did; they pretended the worst couldn’t happen, thus ensuring it did.

    That is what you are doing.

    FACT 3 Support: http://climatesight.org/the-credibility-spectrum/#comment-3402
    Kate, you and climatesight visitors may be interested in this research article… we show that temperatures 4 to 5 million years ago were ~19C higher than today, at a time when atmospheric CO2 levels were very close to those today (~390ppm vs ~387ppm in 2009 from the Mauna Loa, Hawaii record: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ )

    The implication of our research is that we may already have passed a tipping point for major increases in Arctic temperatures due to increasing levels of atmospheric CO2…
    The article is open access, so should be downloadable for free here: http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/38/7/603.abstract

    David

    FACT 4: The scientists have consistently been behind the curve on ACC for years now. Rather than what we not knowing/fully understanding giving us a comfort zone, it is giving us nightmares because at every turn it is far worse than thought just a short time earlier.

    A. Arctic Sea Ice
    B: Ocean heat content
    C: Clathrates
    D: Antarctic melt
    E: CH4 content (Now something like 1.7 after not being more than about 0.8 or so for millions of years.)

    Etc., etc., etc.

    You are playing an intellectual game and ignoring hard facts because they don’t fit your position. Worse, your position helps absolutely nothing except to confuse the situation. The majority of solutions to both PO and ACC are the same. There are but a few PO options that would make ACC worse, but some, really need to be avoided. Thus, we must pursue those actions that successfully address both.

    Stop the madness, man.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 5 Jul 2010 @ 12:30 AM

  379. Patrick 027 @ 377:

    FCH, also somewhat Gilles – remember coal. Tar sands. Etc. (or maybe you did, but some of the conversation seems to imply that it’s all oil).

    I’ve not forgotten them in the least. But I also know that if coal were economically advantageous as a liquid fuels replacement we’d be seeing “CoalCo Gasoline”, and I don’t know anyone who is turning coal into gasoline at any level.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 5 Jul 2010 @ 7:14 AM

  380. ccpo, Careful about your Fact #1. For the past 50 years, our food supply has been critically dependent on petroleum. Human population would never have had its last doubling if we hadn’t effectively learned to “eat” petroleum by turning it into soy and corn.

    Food insecurity could well spell the end for civilization, whether it arises due to the end of oil, climate change, or (most likely) both. All the more reason why we should be trying to get off of oil, and other fossil fuels ASAP–they’re too valuable to burn.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Jul 2010 @ 7:41 AM

  381. I have a question about what climate scientists think.

    Occasionally, a commenter will ponder what sort of climate-related event might trigger serious and widespread public alarm about anthropogenic global warming. What might constitute an “AGW Pearl Harbor” or “AGW 9/11″ type of event in the public mind?

    What I would like to know, from the esteemed climate scientists here, is a little different:

    Presumably you folks are well aware of the seriousness and urgency of the problem, so you don’t need a “Pearl Harbor” moment.

    So instead let me ask you, what sort of climate-related event might plausibly occur, which would lead you to say “Oh f***. The s*** has really hit the fan now.” Or the equivalent in more polite language.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jul 2010 @ 8:21 AM

  382. There is no need for peak oil to be more than a temporary inconvenience if we do the obvious things that need to be done to prepare for it, which of course closely overlap with the things we need to do to deal with AGW.

    And peak oil is easier to deal with than AGW, because unlike AGW, peak oil does not demand that we immediately end ALL use of fossil fuels. If the only problem were peak oil and there was no AGW, then we could go ahead and burn as much oil as we like, with the only challenge being to reduce our usage as supplies plateau and decline and we transition to other energy sources — including other fossil fuels.

    Absent AGW, then in the worst case where we completely mismanage the peak oil transition, then sure, it might cause major economic disruption, and war, and could be a significant setback to human progress. Perhaps as severe as all the deaths from war and genocide and famine and disease that occurred throughout the 20th century. Maybe even worse.

    But the idea that peak oil would end human civilization which endured for ten thousand years and laid the foundations of all modern science before humans ever burned a drop of oil is absurd.

    AGW is another story entirely. It is already causing costly, destructive problems, and it is absolutely clear that much worse is in store no matter what we do now. Indeed, the effects of AGW that are very likely “locked in” now from the GHGs we have already emitted, will almost certainly be worse than even a very badly managed peak oil transition would cause. And if we don’t take urgent action NOW to quickly end our GHG emissions and draw down the already dangerous anthropogenic excess CO2, then AGW is likely to have horrific effects on the entire biosphere that will go far beyond merely ending human civilization.

    It’s one thing when fuel for the tractors becomes expensive, and then scarce, and then you switch to a solar powered tractor, or a horse. It’s quite another thing when the fields have all turned to deserts.

    And of course, what the peak oil worriers — and the AGW deniers likewise — ignore, is that we have vast, abundant, ubiquitous supplies of FREE solar and wind energy, and we have the powerful, mature and rapidly improving technologies to harvest that energy to produce far more than enough electricity to run a technologically advanced civilization in perpetuity. We already don’t need fossil fuels anymore.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jul 2010 @ 8:46 AM

  383. ccpo @ 379:

    Your position is absurd, and has been thoroughly shown to be so. Understand this: I am a Peak Oiler and pretty much a “doomer,” but I am up to here with this bizarre panting and heaving over Peak Oil vs. Climate Change. It’s like a very liberal and pretty liberal person arguing over whether Dick Cheney ran the WH or Bush did. It simply doesn’t matter.

    My position on Peak Oil is that all of the environmentally harmful solutions to Peak Oil, and here I mean harmful in an AGW sense, are also environmentally harmful to the environment-qua-environment. Strip mining Alberta isn’t all that environmentally friendly, and drilling wells in 5,000 feet of water is proving to be a complete disaster. That people are suggesting detonating nuclear explosives as a way to close an oil well should be an indication of how idiotic things have gotten. Even before the Macado blowout, the environment along the Gulf coastline had been suffering immensely from oil and gas production.

    So, no, I don’t view “working around” Peak Oil by drilling or strip mining as a viable solution. Nor do I think that cutting the tops off of mountains to mine more coal is a great idea.

    But more to the point, “working around” Peak Oil is this massive act of denial that these actions are just plain =harmful=. I drive through Pasadena, TX each time I travel from Austin, TX to New Orleans and it =stinks= from the refineries, and Lake Charles, LA isn’t any better, nor is Baton Rouge, LA.

    Chinese air pollution is so horrible that US spy satellites (and not-so-spyish ones …) can’t see the ground at times. Mexico City has been severely polluted for decades. These are problems we have =today= because of fossil fuels.

    So, no, I’m not suggesting in any way that solving Peak Oil, except by completely abandoning oil as a fuel, is the way to go. And dittos for abandoning coal.

    Fossil fuel production and consumption is pretty much nothing but harmful. Right now we have environmental pollution and destruction. Near term, we have economic impacts as fuel costs continue to rise. And yes, further down the road we have Global Warming.

    As for a major war being fought over oil, I suggest you study the events that led to the United States entering WW II. Reading the article I linked previously would also be instructive, as will reading up on the acquisition of natural resources by China.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 5 Jul 2010 @ 9:01 AM

  384. > I’m discussing here only statistics

    If you were, odds are the statisticians would reply to your posts.
    You need to learn how to get the attention of the people who know the area you are asking questions about. Best way is to read something relevant and ask the author about how the statistics are done. Search harder.

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0012-821X(98)00051-X
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-1694(97)00102-9
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0169-555X(97)00014-7

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Jul 2010 @ 9:02 AM

  385. ccpo : Peak Oil cannot end civilization short of a full thermonuclear exchange in competition over resources. Climate Change of 6+ degrees pretty much guarantees it.

    Conclusion: Peak Oil does not trump ACC. Full stop.”

    Given than nowhere in the world, modern civilisation (as we know it in 2000) exists without oil, whereas it exists under a variety of climate that span much more than 6 degrees (including the difference between California and Alaska ), this assertion needs to be a little bit more elaborated …

    Another thing is that I don’t know any scenario in which we reach 6 °C with a close peak oil. Do you mean that the set of scenarios in IPCC is far from being complete ?

    Now a question : which amount of fossil are we allowed to burn to avoid a catastrophic warming , following you ?

    Comment by Gilles — 5 Jul 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  386. Gilles wrote: “Now a question : which amount of fossil are we allowed to burn to avoid a catastrophic warming , following you ?”

    This is an example of why the moderators should consider blocking Gilles from the site.

    He has “asked” this exact “question” dozens and dozens of times.

    People have answered him dozens and dozens of times.

    He has ignored their answers dozens of times, instead responding with repetitive, fatuous sophistry that is very clearly for the sole purpose of sucking them into long, pointless exchanges, for no apparent reason other than to waste their time.

    He is nothing more than an attention-vampire troll.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jul 2010 @ 11:50 AM

  387. ccpo (379), I hope I’m not falling for a practical joke or satire, but I’m a bit perplexed with your response to FurryCatHerder. It sounds like you are saying that the IPCC is all out of date, most climate scientists are way behind the times, and that you and a few others know that global temperatures in the past rose (and therefore can) 7 degrees in a decade, proven in part with, among other things, 3-5 million year old tree rings uncovered from a peat bog in the Canadian Arctic. Your estimate trumps everything else and is the only current bona fide factual evidence. Then you suggest doing the very same thing FCH proposed. Did I read this correctly??

    Do you subscribe to Kate’s idea, supporting your reference at climatesight, that three (and only three?) things need to happen: 1. plant jillions of trees, 2. everyone in the world become farmers, and 3. everyone in the world transport themselves only with walking (doable because now everyone lives in small farm towns — though harvesting the corn, beans, rice, and wheat seem to be a hurdle that is left unaddressed), all within a world economy that never grows or declines?

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Jul 2010 @ 11:52 AM

  388. 387 :”People have answered him dozens and dozens of times.”

    Or not…

    more precisely, I would like to know the ratio of the amount we should burn, to the known proved reserves. It’s faster to answer in one line than digressing about why and how you should answer.

    [Response: "should"?? This is a values question masquerading as quantitative science as has been pointed out to you many times. And you wonder why you get a negative reaction? - gavin]

    Comment by Gilles — 5 Jul 2010 @ 12:36 PM

  389. “Peak Oil (which is better supported than any IPCC model, I might add) ” FurryCatHerder — 4 July 2010 @ 5:57 PM
    “…the application of the conventional Hubbert model to these countries is not appropriate and does not yield good forecasting results. The additional production cycles are apparently the result of many factors, reflecting the state-of-the-art technological evolution in the oil industry, government regulations, economic conditions, and political events. The single-cycle Hubbert model does not consider the effects of these factors.”
    http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/ef901240p?cookieSet=1

    Both the Hubbert model(s) and IPCC scenarios suffer from the uncertainty introduced by the unpredictability of future human actions, and socioeconomic forecasting even more so. (I wonder if the Hubbert models could be generalized to the growth and decline in production of economic “resources” like Credit Default Swaps? Where would we be if TARP had failed by a few votes?) I agree that peak oil presents significant risks to socio/economic/political stability necessary for the maintenance of civilization, and that its confluence with AGW multiplies the risk that we will find ourselves Hot, Flat, Crowded, Broke, Hungry, Angry, and Out of Options.We will soon be up to our asses in Black Swans. The point isn’t which models are less accurate – all models are inaccurate – but that ignoring some models(or other inconvenient truths, however approximate) for the sake of argument – cherrypicking – decreases the Signal to noise ratio. The more we spec – ialiise and noisily choose sides – IPCC alarmists, Peak Oil doomsayers, Free Market denialists, Enviroterrorists, Wise Use privateers, etc – the more we resemble blind men arguing over how to tame an elephant.

    “But I also know that if coal were economically advantageous as a liquid fuels replacement we’d be seeing “CoalCo Gasoline” FurryCatHerder — 5 July 2010 @ 7:14 AM
    “Given the current technology and the implied capital and operating costs, the short term price outlook and no guarantee of stable if not escalating real prices for tar sands oil, it is unlikely that any further plants will be built.” Brandie et al, “The Economic Enigma of the Tar Sands”, University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.V8(1982) http://ideas.repec.org/a/cpp/issued/v8y1982i2p156-164.html
    Plus ça change (plus c’est la même chose).

    “ccpo, Careful about your Fact #1[Peak Oil cannot end civilization short of a full thermonuclear exchange in competition over resources]. For the past 50 years, our food supply has been critically dependent on petroleum.” Ray Ladbury — 5 July 2010 @ 7:41 AM
    A simple model for food supply is y= kx+ b, where y is the food supply and x is fossil fuel; the k factor – how much food supply changes with FF use – and b – food supply with k=0 – depend on your definition of food supply – “how many pounds of tomatoes I can grow in my garden”, or “fresh farm raised salmon flown into New York from New Zealand”. BTW If food supply= Gulf seafood, k is negative &;>)

    Likewise, the continuum of civilization ranges from what we have today to Neolithic Stonehenge. A more accurate description than “end” would be “violent, brutal, deadly, tumultuous and unanticipated decline” of civilization. Carl Sagan said “We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology.” Science tells us that technology has limits; the horizon where those limits are appearing isn’t so far away. Even if the prime movers in society become slaves and animals (biofueled!), there will be enough food for some; however, to paraphrase Hunter Thompson, – where civilization ends, some of us enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 5 Jul 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  390. RE: Gilles @ 389

    “I would like to know the ratio of the amount we should burn, to the known proved reserves. It’s faster to answer in one line than digressing about why and how you should answer.”

    Here’s a values-answer for you:
    Let know proven reserves = X
    Let the amount we should burn = ?:X (your equation)

    ZERO:X

    Happy?

    ANY additional contributions to CO2 concentrations above current levels may condemn an unknown future quantity of mankind to premature extinction. Some of the lost may be friends and/or relatives of yours (and mine). If you have children (substitute friends/loved ones for lack of children), look at their faces. If, by continuing BAU, 50% of humanity is extinguished (an optimistically low number chosen at random), which of your offspring/friends/etc do YOU choose to die? Remember, this is YOUR choice.

    Based upon what we know, and by what is apparent that we don’t (the as-yet unbounded risks), it is ALREADY too late to quibble over what constitutes an “acceptable” level of fossil fuel consumption designed to preserve our dinosaur-like standard of living. All that is left to “quibble” about is how to minimize the losses to come.

    Consider the consequences of Ballantyne & Greenwood 2010 on our climate in general and mankind in specific before posting a response:
    http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/38/7/603.abstract

    Vampire-Troll indeed.

    Daniel the Yooper

    Comment by Daniel the Yooper — 5 Jul 2010 @ 3:56 PM

  391. Re 384 FCH “So, no, I don’t view “working around” Peak Oil by drilling or strip mining as a viable solution. Nor do I think that cutting the tops off of mountains to mine more coal is a great idea.”

    It would be nice if everyone was so clear-headed.

    ———-
    Re 386 Gilles Given than nowhere in the world, modern civilisation (as we know it in 2000) exists without oil, whereas it exists under a variety of climate that span much more than 6 degrees (including the difference between California and Alaska ), this assertion needs to be a little bit more elaborated …

    1. We might replace oil – we have choices; some better than others (PS if we reduced our usage a lot, we could use small amounts for a longer period of time with less negative consequences).

    2. If Alaska’s climate became more like California’s, everything wouldn’t just automatically become as it is in California. Species must either evolve or migrate (or both). Infrastructure and budgets have to be reworked. Where do the species in Alaska go? How fast does soil migrate?

    3. People in Alaska (or Canada, or…) benefit from other places (California, the Midwest, etc.) being like they are and vice versa (global circulation patterns, trade, ecosystems).

    2 and 3 – warming of 6, or … let’s say 3 K, globally, … first, that wouldn’t be the same everywhere for all seasons, and second, it’s not the equivalent of moving everybody and everything from one latitude line to another.

    Now a question : which amount of fossil are we allowed to burn

    Rough estimate, based on 280 ppm CO2 preindustrial, ~ 218 Gt C per 100 ppm CO2 (based on atmospheric molar mass 29 g and C molar mass 12 g, g (different g) = 9.81 m/s2, atmospheric pressure 1013 mb, radius of Earth 6371 km), and 3 K warming per doubling CO2, and 385 ppm CO2 now, and setting aside aerosols and CH4, longer-term ice sheet and geochemical feedbacks, etc:

    to limit warming (from preindustrial) to 2 K, we can add about 130 Gt C to the atmosphere, which might correspond to 259 Gt C of emissions, give or take (324 Gt C or 216 Gt C, for airborne fraction of 40 % or 60 %, respectively (numbers chosen for illustrative purposes; I’m not saying that is the range to expect). Airborne fraction might decline as a result of filling available reservoirs’ short-term capacity; however, ongoing slower redistribution of CO2 could increase the airborne fraction if emissions slow down enough (airborne fraction = increase in atmospheric CO2/emission of CO2; it isn’t actually the fraction of CO2 emitted that remains in the air, as that mixes with CO2 already in the air, etc.)fraction.

    For an annual emission of 10 Gt C (near what we’re at now), that’s 22 to 32 years of emissions. Conventional oil could last that long at present usage, right? Coal can go much longer.

    (PS As a society we’ve demonstrated a willingness to damage private property and destroy water quality to get at coal – and natural gas, apparently.)

    For 3 K increase, about 381 Gt C atmospheric gain, maybe 763 Gt (636 to 954 Gt) emissions, or 64 to 95 years at 10 Gt C/year (same formulation as for 2 K).

    For 4 K increase, about 699 Gt C atmospheric gain, maybe 1400 Gt (1160 to 1750 Gt) emissions, or 116 to 175 years at 10 Gt C/year (same formulation as for 2 K).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Jul 2010 @ 11:00 PM

  392. Re 379 ccpo – I haven’t looked at those links yet, but for the time being I’m presuming 7 K change in a decade, and 19 K warmer than present with roughly the same forcing change relative to preindustrial – these must refer to regional or local changes, right?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Jul 2010 @ 11:06 PM

  393. … “385 ppm CO2 ”
    I know it’s close to that now; I’m not saying it is that.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Jul 2010 @ 11:07 PM

  394. Patrick 027 : I think your figures are underestimated, we have already burnt around 400 GtC I think (did you take into account the airborne fraction in the estimate of past consumption?) . Now concerning assertions 1 to 3, I mainly see here just unfounded claim. I can claim that I disagree with you : I think it is impossible to replace oil without seriously impacting the whole economy, and i don’t see how point 2 and 3 justify the idea that the whole civilization would collapse. And last question : where is the cost/benefit calculation showing that 2K is the right threshold ?

    [edit - can we keep the strawman arguments to one-per-post?]

    Comment by Gilles — 6 Jul 2010 @ 1:56 AM

  395. SA 382: what sort of climate-related event might plausibly occur, which would lead you to say “Oh f***. The s*** has really hit the fan now.”

    BPL: A good bit of Greenland or the Antarctic suddenly splits off and flows into the sea. Or the methane output from the seabeds or permafrost suddenly goes way up. Or droughts hit all over the world.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 6 Jul 2010 @ 5:57 AM

  396. The thing that comes before Peak Oil is Frontier Oil: drilling in places previously thought inaccessible.

    Ask BP and the people living around the Gulf of Mexico what that entails (or if you want the wider picture, ask the people living in the Niger Delta).

    All in all the world is going to be a pretty damn unhappy place unless we get our act together fast. What a pity we did not start working on the problem when it first became clear (I would put that c. 1973, when it first became apparent that relying on oil from limited sources was risky; the second warning was when climate change started to look like a real threat, c. 1988). What have we done since? Aside from a few wars to secure oil supplies, pretty much nothing – except attacks on the scientists who are doing a great job of warning us in time of what we need to do.

    For all the slandering of scientists by deniers the simple fact remains that the people under attack (including the maintainers of this site) are our best chance of starting to solve the future energy problem in time. So keep going, don’t let the bad guys grind you down.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 6 Jul 2010 @ 7:23 AM

  397. Re 395 Gilles –

    I was calculating the additional amounts of C (in the form of CO2, but given in terms of mass of C) that would raise equilibrium temperature relative to preindustrial time (based on 3K/doubling CO2), given the atmospheric CO2 already there (approximately) (and ignoring aerosols, CH4, etc.). In other words, it’s how much more C in addition to what’s there (note that I don’t need to use the airborne fraction to determine the amount of CO2 already added to the atmosphere, because I can just use that value). And then I multiplied that by factors of 2, 2.5, and 10/6, to get a rough sense of how much emission of C that could correspond to (this entails some assumptions about airborne fraction on my part. If we spread out our emissions over time, the airborne fraction would tend to drop because the C already added is still being redistributed (though more slowly) – on the other hand, other effects could increase the airborne fraction, at least in the ‘short’-term). That would be how much we emit from this time forward.

    I didn’t say that a 3 K global averager temperature increase (relative to preindustrial time – we’re roughly 1 K into it) would cause civilization to collapse. Qualitatively, it makes sense to expect the probability of the collapse or partial collapse of civilization to increase with greater AGW, noting that even without any AGW, it would not be zero; however, there is more to the deleterious effects of AGW then collapse of civilization. It’s not all black and white; there are shades of grey.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 6 Jul 2010 @ 7:17 PM

  398. #398 Patrick, ok if the amount you computed is the amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere, not what we have produced. Actually a 40 to 60 % percent airborne fraction is overestimated, because in a multilinear absorption model like Bern’s one, the fraction of CO2 that will stay permanently in the atmosphere is lower (around 20 %). The 50 % figure is the current one, but it will increase when the production will decrease.

    I agree that it is all shades of grey. We may disagree on the darkness of the shade brought by the total disappearance (or even the fading) of fossil fuel consumption. For a dark enough shade, the problems brought by the change of temperature will keep being immaterial compared to those brought by the decrease of FF consumption. Even if most of you dismiss this possibility, I don’t think it is less likely that the climate change based apocalypse scenarios.

    Comment by Gilles — 7 Jul 2010 @ 9:41 AM

  399. Patrick 027 @ 392:

    For an annual emission of 10 Gt C (near what we’re at now), that’s 22 to 32 years of emissions. Conventional oil could last that long at present usage, right? Coal can go much longer.

    No, Conventional Oil can’t go anywhere near that long. I don’t even think that Unconventional Oil, in all of its massive abundance, can maintain the current consumption for 30 more years.

    The worst case Peak Oil + AGW scenario is we do absolutely nothing to get ourselves off of our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. We spend ourselves into a giant whole chasing unconventional reserves. Then, when fuel costs are sky high, we finally “get religion”. Except that atmospheric CO2 is much closer to 450 than today, we’re low on fuel for remediation, low on fuel for =survival=, and the atmosphere has warmed significantly.

    The only course of action that stands a chance is extremely aggressive migration to renewable energy. We need to both conserve what cheap proven reserves we have, and reduce CO2 emissions. The former in case we need the energy to make the switch, the later to avoid the more severe consequences. AGW will get our children and grandchildren. Running out of oil is going to get =us=.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 7 Jul 2010 @ 3:29 PM

  400. Gilles @ 399:

    I agree that it is all shades of grey. We may disagree on the darkness of the shade brought by the total disappearance (or even the fading) of fossil fuel consumption. For a dark enough shade, the problems brought by the change of temperature will keep being immaterial compared to those brought by the decrease of FF consumption. Even if most of you dismiss this possibility, I don’t think it is less likely that the climate change based apocalypse scenarios.

    Continued consumption of fossil fuels, at ever higher prices — standard economics for any commodity approaching scarcity — is going to ruin the economy.

    Oil, and even to some extent coal, is a declining resource with fairly inelastic demand. As demand approaches available production, with no reserve production capacity, the price will rise until supply and demand balance. That price depends on who is doing the demanding and how much money (and guns) they have to “demand” they get their oil with.

    My suggestion is that you look at global oil production over the past few (say, 10) years. Then compare that to the ten previous years.

    Oil is done. Fortunately for me, I’ve got solar on the and an electric motorcycle in the garage. I’m hoping to put an electric car in there a bit later. And perhaps a few carbines close at hand.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 8 Jul 2010 @ 8:42 AM

  401. FurryCatHerder, et al, I think you are assuming this but it should not be left unsaid in these discussions. The wholesale conversion of our transportation system is every bit as culture-shaking and probably much more costly than building jillions of renewable energy sources. Yet until transportation is turned on its head the need for oil will not diminish much no matter how much renewable energy is out there.

    Comment by Rod B — 8 Jul 2010 @ 9:32 AM

  402. ccpo, Careful about your Fact #1. For the past 50 years, our food supply has been critically dependent on petroleum. Human population would never have had its last doubling if we hadn’t effectively learned to “eat” petroleum by turning it into soy and corn.

    Food insecurity could well spell the end for civilization, whether it arises due to the end of oil, climate change, or (most likely) both. All the more reason why we should be trying to get off of oil, and other fossil fuels ASAP–they’re too valuable to burn.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 July 2010 @ 7:41 AM

    A valid point, but food by itself won’t end civilization, most likely, only as part of the milieu. After all, the proximal cause of the fall in production would be PO, so this point is subsumed under that.

    Also, it simply is not difficult to get people growing a significant portion of their own food: Victory Gardens in the US and UK grew 40% of veggies during WWII. Ramp up was rapid and extensive. Some things really are easy to accomplish. A 40% reduction in food supply from Big Ag is easily address by home gardens. See Cuba.

    Comment by ccpo — 8 Jul 2010 @ 12:29 PM

  403. #384
    ccpo @ 379:

    (snip)

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 5 July 2010 @ 9:01 AM

    None of the above addressed my point.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 8 Jul 2010 @ 12:33 PM

  404. RodB and Gilles, your questions are not worth response. Get serious if you want to discuss.

    Et al.:

    1. I am not going to discuss PO here when there is an excellent place to do that: theoildrum.com.
    1b. Suffice to say, solving PO is not something that can be done quickly. Hirch: 10 years with large disruptions, any less, possibly massive disruptions. Erego…
    1c. It is likely something that can’t be done at all, particularly in terms of avoiding disruptions and/or maintaining the lifestyle OECD nations currently have.

    2. I am not saying one or the other is worse in the short and medium term in terms of effects, I am saying you can’t separate them, so the debate is both boring and pointless.

    3. When I say PO can’t end civilization, I mean the core of it, not the cars and planes, etc. But what makes current civilization what it is is some basic anthropogenic structures and systems. Whether we live in straw bale homes or McMansions is not culture… at least not meaningful culture. The American Southwest civilization actually ended. It disappeared. The Maya? Virtually. It re-formed into something very different. PO really will not cause that in and of itself because we don’t need oil to read the books we already have, to enjoy the music we already know, to grow food we already grow, etc. A reduction in complexity? Sure. But going back 200 years technologically would not constitute an end to civilization or culture.

    4. AGW can make life, itself, untenable. PO can’t even get close to that. This is obvious and really should not need any further discussion. Some things really are that obvious.

    5. Rapid climate change is well-documented. Don’t be intentionally dense.

    6. That we are or near tipping points is on its way to be established. I have no doubt we are already there in some cases. I’ve yet to be wrong in my forward-looking statements. Let’s hope to heck I am this time, but the new research says otherwise.

    I hope this clarifies things.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 8 Jul 2010 @ 12:53 PM

  405. ccpo @ 404:

    Then I haven’t the slightest idea =what= your point is.

    My “point” is very simple, and I’ve been very clear about it –

    The need to stop using fossil fuels is =more= urgent due to Peak Oil than due to AGW. You said that Peak Oil doesn’t trump AGW, which I can only take to mean that you think that Peak Oil isn’t a reason to stop using fossil fuels, but that AGW is. Which, by implication, means you think Peak Oil is a less urgent reason. As in, =less= need to stop using fossil fuels.

    I wrote this before the mort-gage crisis –

    Fortunately, the something which must be done is precisely the same something we need to do to avert a catastrophic collapse of the global economy in the very near term — quit relying on fossil fuels. When I first started actively engaging the climate change folks on the subject, oil was half the price it is today. The global economy is heading in a direction where unless oil prices begin to decline, the global economy will stall and collapse. There is only one way to reduce the price of oil in a free market economy — reduce consumption. As we near Peak Oil, increasing production is not an option, no matter how much Pres. Bush pounds his fist on the table, demanding that oil production in the Arctic be permitted.

    We think of the Great Recession as being caused by the bizarre debt instruments, but something caused them to implode, and the spike in oil prices in 2008 was just the warm-up.

    So. You were saying that Peak Oil isn’t a more urgent reason than AGW to move from fossil fuels?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 8 Jul 2010 @ 1:26 PM

  406. Rod B @ 402:

    FurryCatHerder, et al, I think you are assuming this but it should not be left unsaid in these discussions. The wholesale conversion of our transportation system is every bit as culture-shaking and probably much more costly than building jillions of renewable energy sources. Yet until transportation is turned on its head the need for oil will not diminish much no matter how much renewable energy is out there.

    What wholesale conversion?

    The “wholesale conversion” can start =now= and not disrupt anyone, other than people who have some deep-seated, burning need to waste oil.

    Three or four years ago I spec’d a solar power system that would replace all the electricity I get from the grid, plus what I spend in motor fuels. The cost? It was about $65K then, and would be on the order of $39K now. The monthly savings (pretending I didn’t have solar already …) would be on the order of $400 at current electricity and gasoline prices. The monthly mort-gage expense for 10 years at 5% fixed is $408. Assuming a 5% rate of inflation, the cost reaches break-even in a few months (5% of $408 is about $20 ….), is paid for in 10 years with positive ROI after year 1, and free power from years 10 through 25.

    You aren’t willing to have your life disrupted so you can drive for free?!?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 8 Jul 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  407. FCH#407 : your computation of ROI holds for a “test particle”, but not for the whole society. Solar power is useful up to some amount, like wind power. If electricity could power the whole society, countries where hydropower is cheap and abundant would have already made their transition to 100 % renewable electricity , cheap, convenient (much more than sun), carbon free, and safe. They haven’t. There must be a good reason for that. It is unlikely that electricity can power more than 50 % of the energetic needs, and that, due to intermittency , solar and wind can power more than 20 % of the grid, leaving 10 % of the total energy needs – i don’t know any country where this threshold is overcome. Most likely, this threshold won’t be reached worldwide before the oil begins to severely deplete – and then even if it were reached , it won’t prevent the economy to crash since nothing else could replace it.

    But actually there is no “need” of anything – just like there was no need to develop as we did. There may be a desire to keep our civilization, but if you accept getting back to preindustrial ages, there is no real issue. There is no question that “we must go out of oil”. We’ll do anyway. The only point is what we’ll be able to do without it. I don’t know, you don’t know, and actually nobody knows. The present crisis offers an interesting view of what the future world can look like. No brutal disappearance of cars, no demographic crash, no starvation – just a series of recession that will make people poorer and poorer : may be in a somewhat warmer world, but the will most likely don’t care, with regards to the inconvenience of the FF depletion. If I had to bet on the future of the world, I would bet on that.

    Comment by Gilles — 8 Jul 2010 @ 3:02 PM

  408. FurryCatHerder (407), it seems you might have overlooked the wholesale replacement of every car, truck, most buses and trains and all but evidently your and a few other’s motorcycles. I trust you don’t believe this is just a couple of weekend’s worth of chores.

    Comment by Rod B — 9 Jul 2010 @ 4:13 PM

  409. Global warming has become perhaps the most complicated issue facing world leaders. On the one hand, warnings from the scientific community are becoming louder, as an increasing body of science points to rising dangers from the ongoing buildup of human-related greenhouse gases — produced mainly by the burning of fossil fuels and forests. On the other, the technological, economic and political issues that have to be resolved before a concerted worldwide effort to reduce emissions can begin have gotten no simpler, particularly in the face of a global economic slowdown.
    http://www.globalwarmingsurvivalcenter.com/

    Comment by Jene — 10 Jul 2010 @ 12:26 AM

  410. Rod B @ 409:

    Yes, the replacement of every vehicle on the road. The same as every vehicle on the road is already replaced on a regular basis.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 10 Jul 2010 @ 11:20 AM

  411. re 411: The [i]average[/i] age of registered private vehicles in the US is about 8 years, commercial vehicles [busses, freight trucks, etc] can last much longer – we can expect newer ones to last still longer …. I’ve never owned a vehicle newer than about 20 myears old, currently driving a 1958 pickup – you’re maybe thinking every vehicle in current use, and the new ICE ones being sold daily, will be replaced under BAU norms by ….. when? 2050? 2100? By what, pray tell? What are the alternatives for the freight vehicles that daily deliver your goods? I’m rebuilding a 1947 bus for a ‘retirement home’ – maybe you have a practical way to power it electrically that even a profit making capitalist enterprise could afford?

    Comment by flxible — 10 Jul 2010 @ 12:56 PM

  412. tracked, e.g.
    http://www.autoblog.com/2009/03/04/study-median-age-of-cars-in-u-s-increases-to-record-high/

    “Vehicles are also being scrapped at higher rates than in past years. A total of 5.6% of all cars and trucks were scrapped in 2008 as compared to 5.2% in ’07…”

    Larger vehicles are often diesels — older ones emitting problematic pollution, which is why the new ones are much cleaner (well, in Europe) and those operating in air pollution districts are regulated. Biodiesel burns cleaner in refitted old ones.

    > retirement home
    Diesels can go 100k or more between rebuilds, again likely longer on biodiesel; the refit for biodiesel seems like a no-brainer alternative to electric-everything.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Jul 2010 @ 2:59 PM

  413. Two new teaching videos:
    http://climateinteractive.org/videos/c-roads-cp-video-tutorials-1

    From their home page:

    “… computer simulations that help people visualize the long-term climate impacts of decisions being undertaken today …. that can help stabilize the climate system.

    We are modelers and scientists developing climate simulations ….

    Learn about our simulator for climate negotiator analysts and other leaders, tune in as we track the progress of the UNFCCC negotiations, explore our freeware online climate change simulation …..

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Jul 2010 @ 3:03 PM


  414. > retirement home
    Diesels can go 100k or more between rebuilds, again likely longer on biodiesel; the refit for biodiesel seems like a no-brainer alternative to electric-everything.

    a good diesel can go way more than 100K between rebuilds, especially the old polluting Detroits, but in what’s remaining of my life I’d be suprised if I put 50K on getting no place in no hurry, any decent $1000 ICE will outlast me.

    As much as I’d like to run on biofuel, I can’t stand the noise and stink of diesels, even the newest big ones aren’t great in that respect, and new diesels sell for 10,000$ up, and require properly made biodiesel [like NOT waste veg oil, but stuff from crops that should be providing food], as well as needing expensive professional shop services regular, and very spendy parts, even routine maint parts – and that doesn’t include the trans that would be needed that could double the cost – a good GM 454 with a common OD truck trans will do the job and I can maintain it myself. I’m spending the money I have on alternatives for when I’m stationary, like PV panels and quality 12V appliances.

    For the freighters littering N American highways, biodiesel [that takes food off the tables of many] MIGHT help reduce CO2 output slightly in order to keep food on the tables of those that could afford it, but it’s not a lot of help. . . . And the increased scrappage recently is a result of govt incentives, at least here in Canada – not to mention the high price scrap metal has been bringing because the Chinese have been gobbling it up.

    “What goes around comes around” they say, the only solution for drastic decreases in emissions is massive decreases in global consumption, which won’t happen as long as the unsustainable population size isn’t addressed.

    Comment by flxible — 10 Jul 2010 @ 4:19 PM

  415. Hank, doesn’t biofuel require a lot of long term sequestering in the plants stalks (?) and roots to have a significant net efffect on CO2 emissions, and isn’t that prospect a little uncertain?

    If there is decent net savings (Does the added N2O emissions — doubled, maybe — that some have indicated mitigate it much?) I would agree that it seems like biodiesel conversion is a much shorter row to hoe than all electric conversion. btw, diesels routinely go 250,000-350,000 miles and more before rebuilds; can’t bio conversions be done without rebuilding?

    Comment by Rod B — 10 Jul 2010 @ 8:03 PM

  416. Rod – “Biodiesel” [currently mostly from rapeseed and soy] can be used directly in all existing [old and new] diesel engines, where conversion is required is in the use of straight vegetable oil [or waste oil], and new diesels can have problems with it, only the older ones work well, depending on the injection system and quality of the oil, and it’s frequently mixed with petrodiesel. Helpful to a limited extent, as the energy returned is good for energy invested, BUT the developed world is driving up the price of cooking oil for the poorer countries by using food crops for biofuel and by folks putting palm plantations in places that could be growing food.

    “According to the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standards Program Regulatory Impact Analysis, released in February 2010, biodiesel from soy oil results, on average, in a 57% reduction in greenhouse gases compared to fossil diesel, and biodiesel produced from waste grease results in an 86% reduction”

    Comment by flxible — 10 Jul 2010 @ 9:52 PM

  417. “biodiesel [that takes food off the tables of many]… ” flxible — 10 July 2010 @ 4:19 PM
    It’s not necessarily as bad as one might think:

    soybeans are 40% protein, 35% carbohydrate, and 20% oil. Conversion of the oil to biodiesel doesn’t remove the protein and carbohydrate from the food supply, and in fact almost all soybeans are processed into oil and soy protein concentrate. According to wikipedia “Soybeans can produce at least twice as much protein per acre than any other major vegetable or grain crop, 5 to 10 times more protein per acre than land set aside for grazing animals to make milk, and up to 15 times more protein per acre than land set aside for meat production.” If we replaced 10% of our meat intake with soy protein, and converted the freed up land to soy instead of meat, the total food protein production could increase by 140%.

    http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/biofuels/ethanol-bushels-working-0215/
    “When you make ethanol out of corn, about one-third is ethanol, one-third is carbon dioxide and one-third is dried distillers grain with solubles (DDGS), says Mindy Schweitzer, marketing manager at POET Nutrition.”
    “For beef cattle, on a dry-matter basis, DDGS have 5% more net energy than No. 2 yellow corn, Gibson says of his company’s Dakota Gold. For dairy cattle, it’s 10% more net energy.”
    “Newer research at land-grant universities shows much higher nutritional values for ethanol coproducts than what has been published historically, according to [POET livestock nutritionist Matt] Gibson.”

    http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/handle/10113/34469
    “Upon conversion from corn to DDGS, on an average, protein was concentrated 3.59 times; oil, 3.40 times; ash, 3.32 times; and total non-starch CHO, 2.89 times.”

    Between 1997 and 2007 US farmland declined by ~33 million acres[1]: if that land were put back into corn production, it could produce 14 billion gallons of biofuel ethanol[2] plus the additional food value of the DDGS. If the concentrated CO2 emissions were captured and sequestered, it would be carbon negative.

    Biofuels are by no means a panacaea, and effectively producing biofuels and food requires some forethought about the demands on water, land, and the remaining natural environment(e.g., conversion of tropical forest to palm oil plantations), plus modeling of the pathways of energy & mass flows through a system with people/cows/goats/pigs/chickens/tilapia, corn/soybeans/alfalfa/duckweed/truck crops, poop/sewage flows, fertile/marginal soil areas, macronutrients/micronutrients and annual weather and climate. Questions such as ” does the overall productivity increase if fewer ruminants and more other animals are grown because the higher metnane biogas -> ammonia fertilizer -> increased corn yield + higher pig/chicken FCR offset the ability of cows/goats to digest cellulose?” can be approximated with modeling without the losses inherent in an experimental free market approach. Some farmers might choose to grow more cows and forego some profit just because they like cows. Corporations operating under only their fiduciary responsibility might choose to produce more fuel and “take food off the tables of many” whose starvation won’t affect their profit.

    I think that rational civilized government policies ought to give incentives, coercion, and even mandates to maximize the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of individuals, as well as promote the common welfare.
    Carbon taxes, sequestration rebates, and mandatory food/fuel ag production ratios are potential tools to achieve these ends.

    [1] http://www.ers.usda.gov/statefacts/us.htm
    [2] “158.6 bushels of corn per acre. 2.77 gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn. 439 gallons of ethanol per acre” http://www.fapri.missouri.edu/outreach/publications/2006/biofuelconversions.pdf

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 11 Jul 2010 @ 11:07 AM

  418. Brian Dodge, just for comparison and context, converting all gasoline using vehicles to 100% corn-based ethanol would require almost 7x the current acreage in corn, and 30% more than the current total cropland of the US.

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Jul 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  419. Corn ethanol is not a good choice. Besides being a waste of money and a puny impractical half-measure, it has also done extreme damage to the reputation of biofuels, especially in the US.

    So, America: if you are serious, then stop subsidising corn, remove tariffs on biofuel imports, and find out which biofuels are economical and effective on a truly level playing field.

    Comment by Didactylos — 11 Jul 2010 @ 4:54 PM

  420. 419: Rod said that you could power all the US cars with corn if you used 130% more land than the US currently uses for crops.

    I don’t believe you. From what I’ve been able to understand, the EROI on corn is so low that it is still uncertain as to whether it is positive. The land required to produce enough fuel to even make a difference with corn might well be way more than 130 % of our current croplands.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 11 Jul 2010 @ 8:47 PM

  421. Re 418 Brian Dodge -
    Between 1997 and 2007 US farmland declined by ~33 million acres[1]
    =
    ~ 51,563 mi^2
    ~133,546 km^2
    ~ 1.7 to 1.8 % of US excluding Alaska
    ~ 1.07 TWe for 10 % efficient conversion of 200 W/m2 to electricity with 1 m2 of panel per 2.5 m2 of land (*roughly* the ‘fuel equivalent’ of all U.S. energy use, though there are some uses of fuel that would require more electricity to replace than that proportionality)

    (PS how much of that decline was from urban sprawl? I’ve read that’s a real problem, because some of the best farmland is being lost (of course, people would settle where the land is good, wouldn’t they)).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Jul 2010 @ 10:51 PM

  422. Didactylos (420), I agree that corn ethanol is not very attractive. But I didn’t follow your suggestion. First, corn ethanol is a biofuel is it not? In any case my concern still stands: we would still have to import a jillion tons a day or still devote a jillion more acres that we don’t readily have to raising whatever ethanol alternative(s) we choose.

    John E. Pearson, I’m not 100% sure what EROI is, but if you are questioning the marginal corn productivity on the 400 million acres or so we would have to add, you are correct. Most of that land won’t come close to the bushel/acre yield that current corn land does. We’ll just have to give the Rocky Mtns and the Sonoran Desert a shot! Maybe we could invade and absorb Mexico which does have some corn productive soil — hell, and maybe solve the illegal immigration problem at the same time!

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Jul 2010 @ 11:34 PM

  423. “Corn ethanol is not a good choice.” Compared to what? Burning up 10 milllion BTU per acre of fossil fuels to grow corn, shipping it to a feed lot and converting it to beef at a 7:1 FCR, and dumping the CO2 and methane emitted in this process into the atmosphere for someone else to deal with?

    “I don’t believe you. From what I’ve been able to understand, the EROI on corn is so low that it is still uncertain as to whether it is positive.”
    Pimental and Patzek, using 1979 production data, found a net negative EROEI of -15kbtu/gallon. The USDA, using 2001 production data, found a net positive EROEI of 31Kbtu/gallon.
    “THE NET ENERGY BALANCE OF CORN ETHANOL” Roger Conway Office of Energy Policy and New Uses/USDA

    “..converting all gasoline using vehicles to 100% corn-based ethanol would require almost 7x the current acreage in corn, and 30% more than the current total cropland of the US.”
    “pasture and range land, 587 million acres (25.9 percent); cropland, 442 million acres ” http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB14/
    442 million acres of cropland would yield 177 billion gallons of ethanol(at 400 gallons of EtOH/acre), compared to the current consumption of gasoline of ~140 billion gallons. Converting 60 percent of the pasture/rangeland would provide 140 billion gallons per year of EtOH, and ~500 million tons of DDGS for animal feed. At a crappy 10:1 FCR, that would yield 50 million tons of beef, compared to US 2008 consumption of of 27.3 billion pounds. http://www.ers.usda.gov/news/BSECoverage.htm (~30 times more beef “on the table”, for those who have trouble doing the math).

    I am aware that 150 bushels corn/400 gal EtOH per acre is very optimistic for 60 percent of the current range/grassland – a lot is too dry, and this is likely to get worse – and i don’t recommend corn/beef monocultures, or hoping for some other sort of magic bullet . Duckweed can produces ~25 times the starch per acre as corn(In NC climate, grown on hog farm effluent), but midwest cold weather reduces this potential. Oil Palm produces ~500 gallons/acre of biodiesel, and it’s a perennial – less fuel for plowing & planting, and squeezing the oil out is less energy intensive than distilling ethanol. It won’t grow in the US(except Hawaii, maybe south Florida), but the places where it does grow(indonesia, Maylasia) have low labor costs, so buying it from there is a good choice economically. Because creating the plantations often means burning the tropical forest and draining the underlying peat soils, there’s an initial large release of stored carbon. The growth of the trees will sequester some of the CO2; capture/sequestration of fermentation CO2 would be a continuous process. A tax on CO2 emissions, and credits for CO2 sequestration might make ethanol more economic, and certainly carbon negative.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 12 Jul 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  424. ~3.6 times more beef… aaargh

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 12 Jul 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  425. Brian Dodge, I have some quibbles with your numbers, though your analysis is pretty good, IMO. Of the current 440-some million acres of cropland, about 320-some million acres are harvested, and 80-some million acres is in corn. The roughly 175 billion gal. of gasoline burned by vehicles would require about 235 billion gal. of ethanol for full replacement. Using your 400 gal. per acre takes about 580 million acres of corn — a little more than your figure but probably within the range. The big question is the 400 gal of ethanol per acre. At the high yield end it’s probably more like 470 gal (we’re still close) for the 80 million current corn acres. But it’s grossly optimistic for rangeland, and even optimistic for much of the other cropland. If the overall average is 200-250 gal/acre about 1 billion acres all exclusively in corn is now required, which is more than all of the current US farmland (crop, range, pasture).

    The added benefit of DDGS feed is misleading since it would merely replace part of the 55% of corn that is used for feed directly today and it is not an acceptable complete cattle diet. And since we’ve taken all of the other grains and pasture cattle feed, instead of going up cattle production drops precipitously, as would pigs, chickens, turkeys not to mention wheat, soybeans, cotton, vegetables, etc, etc ad infinitum.

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Jul 2010 @ 11:51 PM

  426. “The added benefit of DDGS feed is misleading since it would merely replace part of the 55% of corn that is used for feed directly today and it is not an acceptable complete cattle diet.”
    If the analysis starts by ascribing all the energy inputs(fuel to run the tractors, produce the fertiliser, transport the products, and distill the ethanol) to the production of ethanol, the energy contained in the ethanol is still more than used in production. The energy cost of production of the DDGS, containing the protein, fiber, and various other nutrients, is therefore zero. Replacing some corn/soybeans/hay going into the food supply for cows with this product saves the fossil fuel that would be used to grow those products. According to ‘Fossil Energy Use in the Manufacture of Corn Ethanol’ , August 2002, Dr. Michael S. Graboski
    “72% of the land supplying corn to wet and dry mills would need to be planted in the absence of ethanol production for ruminant feeding and corn oil replacement. Thus, while the apparent yield of ethanol per harvested acre is currently 372 gallons, the actual yield when replacement is taken into account is approximately 1,300 gallons per acre.”

    DDGS isn’t a complete diet, but straight corn isn’t economic either. For ruminants, the starch in corn can be used for ethanol production, and replaced by cellulose from lower quality sources – corn stover from the fields, hay, verge grass, the wood shavings & straw from chicken litter(and the cows can capture undigested food and the urea/ammonia nitrogen contained in the feces), or even shredded waste paper.

    There’s also the issue of who goes first. Manufacturers won’t make & the public won’t buy cars that can run on flexfuel if there’s none at the gas station. So they wait. The oil companies can’t supply gasahol unless there are distilleries providing them with ethanol, and can’t sell it if there aren’t flex fuel vehicles. So they wait. No venture capitalist is going to build a cellulosic ethanol plant without a market for the ethanol, and a supply of wood chips, switchgrass, waste paper, corn stover…. So they wait. Farmers won’t produce more cellulose than their ruminants need unless there is a cellulose to ethanol plant buying. So they wait.

    Every day we wait, the US uses ~14.4 million barrels of oil, and only 0.85 million barrels of EtOH. http://www.eia.doe.gov/steo/
    We could be using ~15 mbpd of oil, and zero ethanol, and more money would be going overseas and less to US farming; or we could be using 13 mbpd oil and 2mbpd ethanol, sending less money abroad, increasing farm income, and using some of that cash flow to develop fossil fuel replacements that we are eventually going to need anyway.
    Every day we wait, the cost of that change increases (lost opportunity cost).
    Every day we wait, our range of choices narrows.
    The money we are “saving” by having cheap beef, pork, and chicken isn’t being set aside to pay for the future cost of curing our oil addiction.[1]

    But a farmer can grow more corn, or less cattle, and send corn to an ethanol plant, and still make money, especially if there’s a subsidy. And a venture capitalist will build an ethanol plant with readily available corn, and a federal gasahol mandate. And if he’s smart (most are), he’ll spend a little extra to make sure it can be converted to cellulosic ethanol if the time comes. The oil companies have to make gasahol if its mandated, but they can still make money selling it, and the corn-to-ethanol distilleries will supply it. Some of the profits will have to go toward upgrading their supply chain to handle ethanol, but that’s tax deductible. And the car companies will make flexfuel hybrids, ’cause the mileage mandates are there, and the gasahol production and distribution system is there.
    And in fact, government policies over the last decade have started this process.

    And if we are smart and lucky, the cash flow from corn ethanol will provide the money and incentives to convert most of the production stream to cellulosic/duckweed/algal source materials in a decade or so. and the DDGS from those sources will provide some of the additional food we need for the additional population we’ll have. In years where we have a bumper crop of corn, and produce more than we need for feed, the market to distilleries will provide built in price supports; the DDGS from the other ethanol feedstocks will provide some cushion to food production in years when the corn crop is bad.

    [1] The beef industry is hurting right now, but it’s not just from the increased cost of corn. Pork and chicken have higher FCR, and lower costs, even though non-ruminants require higher quality feeds. The recession has cause a shift in consumer buying habits to cheaper meats. The one case of BSE in the US was likely the main reason for a 30% drop in beef exports in 2004, though trade protectionism played a part, with the BSE as an excuse(sorta like 9/11->Al Qaeda->Saddam Hussein->WMD->Iraq oil reserves, but I digress).

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 13 Jul 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  427. Interesting post, well done. One point that doesn’t seem to get mentioned much in all the blogosphere comment; I have the the official PNAS Anderegg paper in front of me and it contains no list whatsoever, black or otherwise. So why the fuss?

    (Yes, there is a list is on a blog written by one of the authors – but that is a different thing)
    Regards, Cormac.

    Comment by cormac — 16 Jul 2010 @ 10:19 AM

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