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  1. Here comes round 2 from CRU …

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/climategate-2-0/

    Comment by Salamano — 22 Nov 2011 @ 7:42 AM

  2. Oh dear, get ready for the cherrypicking, quote mining and spin again. More emails have been released by the CRU hackers. Right before Durban. What a coincidence.

    Comment by J Bowers — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:12 AM

  3. RCU got hacked again:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15840562

    RC was down yesterday. Coincidence?

    [Response: Yes. No apparent relationship. - gavin]

    Comment by Peter Backes — 22 Nov 2011 @ 10:09 AM

  4. Not “again”. I haven’t read yet but a couple of people who have seem to think there is no material past 2009 in latest batch. Black (your link)says these were probably taken at same time as first batch. Nothing particularly alarming other than climate scientists can be pretty catty in their emails.

    Comment by bigcitylib — 22 Nov 2011 @ 11:00 AM

  5. Things to note about the latest email set: Instead of using commas in 5,000 and 220,000, they use periods (5.000 and 2.000). That’s not an English speaking way of doing things. They also refer to themselves as “we”. What are the chances that the whistleblower at UEA/CRU would be more than one whistleblower, and they would also not have English as their first language?

    Whistleblower hypothesis blown out of the water, as far as I’m concerned. That, or a member of the Royal family savvy at hacking works at CRU/UEA.

    Comment by J Bowers — 22 Nov 2011 @ 11:04 AM

  6. Actually the BBC says there’s a new batch of material, probably part of the original stolen files — it doesn’t say anything about a new theft or crack, at least at the link given.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Nov 2011 @ 11:19 AM

  7. It seems likely that this is all “second tier” stuff, unless you think the original release was conceived as part of a series, and that they held back some goodies.

    I don’t think this will be the PR disaster the first release was. Here’s hoping …

    Comment by Neal J. King — 22 Nov 2011 @ 12:19 PM

  8. If there’d been any silver bullets in the emails they’d have fired them two years ago. All they’re firing are more blanks which denialists seem to think means there’s a body.

    Comment by J Bowers — 22 Nov 2011 @ 12:41 PM

  9. It’s funny/sad to see all the deniers jizzing all over themselves with quotes that aren’t interesting even takeon out of context.
    It could be worthwhile to point out that they are using (mined) quotes to support the idea that there is no warming, a claim that -according to them and in reaction to the BEST results- they never made. I guess the must have forgotten.

    Comment by Daneel — 22 Nov 2011 @ 2:03 PM

  10. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/22/fresh-hacked-climate-science-emails

    Comment by rasmus — 22 Nov 2011 @ 2:20 PM

  11. Could you put these in context, please?:

    [John] Cook: “I am afraid that Mike [Mann] is defending something that increasingly can not be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.”

    [Response: Not "John", Ed, and this was in 2002, related to the Briffa/Osborn perspective in Science 2002. Those were early days in the paleo-reconstruction business and different groups had different opinions about how to proceed and interpret the results. Normal science.... - gavin]

    Bradley: “I’m sure you agree–the [Mike] Mann/ [Phil] Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year ‘reconstruction’.”

    [Response: Again, people are free to make their own judgements on papers. This was in 2003 (discussing Mann and Jones (2003)). - gavin]

    Crowley: “Phil [Jones], thanks for your thoughts – guarantee there will be no dirty laundry in the open.”

    [Response: The discussion is related to SST anomalies, but I don't really understand crowley's characterisation. The difficulties in the SST record have been well discussed in the literature - most recently in Kennedy et al. - gavin]

    [Phil] Jones: “There shouldn’t be someone else at UEA [University of East Anglia] with different views (from “recent extreme weather is due to global warming”) – at least not a climatologist.”

    [Response: Jones is pushing back against the idea that there are always 'two sides' on science discussions for a media event, where the organisers wanted someone else from UEA to argue with Jones. - gavin]

    Comment by William Jackson — 22 Nov 2011 @ 2:50 PM

  12. Mann:

    the important thing is to make sure they’re loosing the PR battle. That’s what
    the site [Real Climate] is about.

    How’s that working out for you?

    [Response: Pretty well actually. Having somewhere people can go that isn't being filtered by politicians or journalists, and where scientists can interact directly with the public, does actually make a difference. You might not like it, but lots of people do. - gavin]

    Comment by jryan — 22 Nov 2011 @ 3:00 PM

  13. I’m curious about one thing. I am under the impression the police investigation is still open – i.e. there has been no determination as to whether the emails were hacked or leaked. Which term one sees depends on which side of the debate one looks to. From the middle, it appears both sides are equally engaged in placing their spin on the issue.

    Comment by timg56 — 22 Nov 2011 @ 3:05 PM

  14. @9

    It’s really that easy, Daneel:

    This old banana peel is proof that Gavin has been cooking the books on AGW.

    No? It’s just a … an old … banana peel. Right, well … uh …

    This empty Coke can! Yes, THIS is proof that Gavin has been cooking the books on AGW. And I’ve got this bug-eyed Brit who will say so … IN LATIN.

    And here’s this electrical engineer from Utah who took four whole hours of college statistics to show you that CARBON IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!

    That’s the ticket.

    Comment by JM — 22 Nov 2011 @ 3:14 PM

  15. “If anyone has any questions about anything they see that seems interesting, let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can provide some context. We anticipate normal service will be resumed shortly.”

    Dave Appell is putting together a list of emails that likely need context according to him.

    Comment by grypo — 22 Nov 2011 @ 3:16 PM

  16. Not “filtered by politicians”, but as you seem to agree that this is a PR site, it is definitely filtered for political impact.

    For what it’s worth, as a PR site, you jumped in the middle of this a bit too early. From the looks of the behavior in these emails you may be suffering Goodfellahs syndrome. The longer you spent in the middle of it the more normal it all seemed.

    [Response: Or you are just imagining things. RC is very clearly engaged in outreach to the public and to other interested people (including scientists and journalists), I hardly think that is a huge surprise, particularly since we said so in our first post. If you think that all outreach must be a (derogatory) 'PR effort', I can't really help you. Should scientists not have relations with the public? I thought the main complaint was that academics spent too much time in the ivory tower. - gavin]

    Comment by jryan — 22 Nov 2011 @ 3:23 PM

  17. @13 timg56 –

    As someone who has followed climate science for a number of years, may I suggest that “in the middle” on this issue can only mean steadfastly uninformed? This is not an area where it makes sense to look for accurate information by splitting the difference between two discrepant statements…

    Comment by Ian — 22 Nov 2011 @ 3:33 PM

  18. timg56

    I’m curious about one thing. I am under the impression the police investigation is still open – i.e. there has been no determination as to whether the emails were hacked or leaked. Which term one sees depends on which side of the debate one looks to.

    The two sides of the debate are 1) those who believe the police who early on said they were treating it as an illegal hack into the CRU servers or 2) those who pretend the police didn’t say that.

    The police have never suggested that they believe it’s a “leak”, i.e. whistleblower. The university has treated it as an illegal hack into the servers. The “whistleblower” meme has been promoted by denialists, not the authorities.

    Now, you can ask yourself what’s more likely …

    1. There was an illegal hack into CRU, followed by Real Climate being illegally hacked and the e-mails being posted here.

    2. Some champion of justice, an honorable whistleblower, exposed a nest of fraud within CRU and innocently passed on the documentation to someone else who committed a felony crime by illegally hacking into RC.

    Which scenario seems most likely to you? An innocent passing stuff on to someone or some people who commit a felony? Or a criminal plan from front to back? Even without the evidence of CRU and the police treating the so-called “leak” as criminal hacking, I’d say the “whistleblower” hypothesis is weak …

    Comment by dhogaza — 22 Nov 2011 @ 3:44 PM

  19. Explain this!

    Dec 31 23:49 1999
    From: Phil Jones
    Subject: One world government
    To: IPCC-group
    Comrades,

    Soon our once-great nation will rise from the ashes of the greatest war the world has ever known. Russia has changed. But our lives will not be wasted. The master plan is proceeding apace. Adolf Hitler once said “The great masses will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.” Indeed, the best kept secrets are the ones that everyone knows. Double agent Anthony Watts has a remarkable summary of the global warming charade. Stupidly is his sword and Folly his shield. By placing the truth where everyone can see it — nobody can! Today we have recruited over 2,000 scientists to The Team. To you I say we have only completed a beginning. There remains much that is undone. There are great tricks undiscovered, breakthroughs available to those who can remove one of the truth’s protective layers. Onward.

    Phil.

    [Response: Darn! Can't explain that one, but wasn't it also cc-ed to our vegetarian overlords? - gavin]

    Comment by ThePowerofX — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:06 PM

  20. ” Mann:
    the important thing is to make sure they’re losing the PR battle. That’s what the site [Real Climate] is about.”

    Which is how I read Welcome to RealClimate Dec. 2004. Not exactly a big secret, and not exactly unnecessary, either.

    Comment by J Bowers — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:21 PM

  21. Note that the one-world government memo was emailed on the eve of the millenium, Dec 31st, 1999. I daresay that Phil Jones might have been deep in his cups at 11 minutes before midnight, thinking grandiose thoughts, as many of us were.

    If this is evidence of a climate conspiracy, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale!

    [Response: umm. I am sure you get that that was a joke, not something Phil actually wrote. Right?--eric]

    Comment by Jeffrey Park — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:22 PM

  22. I can’t help wondering if this will be counterproductive for the hackers, since it provides evidence that the initial release was selected from a larger body of stolen email, reinforcing the suspicion that emails were intentionally taken out of context to give a misleading impression.

    Comment by trrll — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:27 PM

  23. I for one welcome our vegetarian overlords, for they leave all the spareribs for us.

    Hiring Russian dezinformatsia hackers for a Five Year Plan?

    Who woulda thought – it’s only been eight since Putin reversed himself on signing off on Kyoto.

    Comment by Russell — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:28 PM

  24. Very briefly:

    - You must be bored stiff with this nonsense

    - If people think these emails reveal Earth System Scientists to be an unusually bad lot, they have led astonishingly sheltered professional lives

    - Let’s hope it all fuffles out quickly, like the mouse flatulence it is, and we can get back to something interesting like arguing about the PETM

    Comment by BBD — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:30 PM

  25. #13

    “hacked or leaked”

    How about stolen?

    We do know that the CRU emails were stolen.

    But by who?

    Ancient Aliens.

    There was no mention of Ancient Aliens in the original emails. Therefore, we do not know, with certainty, that Ancient Aliens were not involved in the first place.

    These new emails, shed no new light on the Ancient Aliens Theory.

    Comment by EFS_Junior — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:31 PM

  26. That satire shows Phil Jones to be a somewhat funny guy … for a Brit! :)

    Comment by dhogaza — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:33 PM

  27. What I don’t understand is if the science was on your side and the “debate” was over, something that is scientifically impossible, then why is it a “PR” issue……what is damning is the lack of desire from scientists to behave like scientists and be vigilant and strong in the skepticism to obtain real evidence.

    Comment by JCS — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:43 PM

  28. So in 1680.txt, why does Michael Mann say that you (Gavin), “usually has thoughtful insights wiith respect to such matters,” when discussing finding a journalist to investigate “fossil fuel connections” and any other dirt they could find in order to discredit McIntyre and Keenan?

    Do you have a lot of experience in discrediting people whose work exposes your own?

    Don’t worry, I’ll take your silence in this matter as an admission of guilt.

    [Response: My ignoring you would simply be a sign that your out-of-context smear is too stupid to address. But I think it worthwhile to point out that the first line of this email has "They will misrepresent you and take out of context anything you give them". How prescient! For everyone else, this is an email discussing the appalling (and officially investigated and rejected) allegation of fraud that Keenan made about a scientist at SUNY Albany. Jones was asking for advice on whether and how to respond to a request from Peiser (acting editor of Energy and Environment) for comments on a paper Keenan had submitted claiming a 'fraud'. If you are looking for people who have experience discrediting people, I would start with Keenan. - gavin]

    Comment by TheGoodLocust — 22 Nov 2011 @ 4:50 PM

  29. Gavin,

    For what it is worth (probably nothing), from a skeptic, I think that handling this head on is the right way to do it, and shows that you have learned something since the “words to the wise” days. Just my impression.

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Scharf — 22 Nov 2011 @ 5:02 PM

  30. [Response: umm. I am sure you get that that was a joke, not something Phil actually wrote. Right?--eric]

    C’Mon! Are you denying that Phil Jones had a sense of humor?

    [Response: I think I might be denying that I have a sense of humor! ;) --eric]

    Comment by Jeffrey Park — 22 Nov 2011 @ 5:09 PM

  31. Gavin… You’re doing a great job of putting each of these emails in context. I notice each of the people posting the emails have no response past your comment.

    My take. This is big nothing-burger.

    Comment by Rob Honeycutt — 22 Nov 2011 @ 5:18 PM

  32. Posted at WUWT

    “OK, my skeptic instincts are on high alert. So far, there is no smoking gun in the emails. There are only some uncomfortable exchanges, expressions of doubt, etc., etc. How do we know that this isn’t Mann or another member of the team putting these emails out to try to sway public opinion. . The idea would be to put out a bunch of legitimate emails that put people in a mildly bad light (so as to establish their genuineness), but don’t contain any really damning stuff. There will be a big flurry of press coverage and blogger buzz, but in the end, its all about nothing. The public will then conclude that its all been overblown and that the skeptics are wrong about the degree of dishonesty within the team. Public interest (and the concomitant public pressure) in the UVA emails would subside. This would be a fairly sophisticated strategy (sort of a ‘false flag’ operation), but I’m worried because these emails are not nearly as damning as Climategate I. It all looks very suspicious to me.”

    Just hilarious. These guys cannot switch the paranoia off for a moment can they?

    Comment by pjclarke — 22 Nov 2011 @ 5:26 PM

  33. Don’t worry, I’ll take your silence in this matter as an admission of guilt.

    The scientific method is indeed strong with this one.

    Comment by JM — 22 Nov 2011 @ 5:28 PM

  34. “So in 1680.txt, why does Michael Mann say that you (Gavin), “usually has thoughtful insights wiith respect to such matters,” when discussing finding a journalist to investigate “fossil fuel connections” and any other dirt they could find in order to discredit McIntyre and Keenan?

    Do you have a lot of experience in discrediting people whose work exposes your own?

    Don’t worry, I’ll take your silence in this matter as an admission of guilt.

    [Response: My ignoring you would simply be a sign that your out-of-context smear is too stupid to address. But I think it worthwhile to point out that the first line of this email has "They will misrepresent you and take out of context anything you give them". How prescient! For everyone else, this is an email discussing the appalling (and officially investigated and rejected) allegation of fraud that Keenan made about a scientist at SUNY Albany. Jones was asking for advice on whether and how to respond to a request from Peiser (acting editor of Energy and Environment) for comments on a paper Keenan had submitted claiming a 'fraud'. If you are looking for people who have experience discrediting people, I would start with Keenan. - gavin]”

    Ok, so let’s rephrase this Gavin; in the correct context, it’s fine to hire investigators to discredit opponents?

    Seems a little extreme in a climate context.

    [Response: Love the way you are spinning this! It is textbook stuff. For the record, I have not, am not and will not, 'hire investigators to discredit opponents'. The notion is laughable. Even funnier is that the email source for your claim doesn't discuss 'hiring investigators' either. So you have a made-up allegation, you attribute it to someone else (me) who is only peripherally mentioned later in the email, and you wrap it up in some oh-so-clever 'gotcha' question. Sorry, but you are just an idiot if you think this has any connection to reality. - gavin]

    Comment by Orson Presence — 22 Nov 2011 @ 5:49 PM

  35. “We don’t really want the bullshit and optimistic stuff that Michael has
    written [...] We’ll have to cut out some of his stuff.”

    Why cut out his stuff, what was he optimistic about?

    [Response: The language is a too strong, but Michael [Schulz] was writing an intro to ocean-based proxies for this review paper, that I imagine wasn’t quite at the appropriate level. The final paper was great though. -gavin]

    Comment by JCS — 22 Nov 2011 @ 5:51 PM

  36. Desperate attempts from some criminal minds.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 22 Nov 2011 @ 5:51 PM

  37. Wow, this is where the denialists are today!

    I’ve heard for 2 years that these emails were hacked, but never seen any backup for that. Is there any? Or maybe, it was someone on the email list that got sick of the deception. Maybe these weren’t stolen at all.

    [Response: How many times have you seen the entire contents of a back-up mail server (220,000+ emails) just lying around? Indeed, as mentioned above, this release should put paid to any notion that the original emails were part of some legitimate activity. - gavin]

    Comment by Occupied Territory — 22 Nov 2011 @ 6:15 PM

  38. Well with ONLY 220,000 stolen emails to go, are they all aging well, or have they all just gotten a bit too stale over time?

    So let’s dust off that very old song, and give it a new title, call it;

    DRUNKARD’S DENIAL

    November 2009: 227,000 stolen emails on the wall, 227,000 stolen emails on the wall, you take 2,000 down and upload them around, 225,000 stolen emails on the wall, …

    November 2011: 225,000 stolen emails on the wall, 225,000 stolen emails on the wall, you take 5,000 down and upload them around, 220,000 stolen emails on the wall, …

    .
    .
    .

    October 2014: Still more than 200,000 stolen emails on the wall, still more than 200,000 stolen emails on the wall, you take several thousand down and upload them around, still more than 200,000 stolen emails on the wall, …

    .
    .
    .

    October 2112: Still more than 100,000 stolen emails on the wall, still more than 100,000 stolen emails on the wall, but there is no one around, to take several thousand down, and upload them around, forevermore than 100,000 stolen emails on the wall, …

    Comment by EFS_Junior — 22 Nov 2011 @ 6:20 PM

  39. Compared to the crazed reaction two years ago, the non-response from the major media outlets is very encouraging IMO.

    Gavin – hopefully this time around, you can enjoy your turkey day festivities without wasting too much time replying to the usual “CONSPIRACAHHHHH!11!” crowd.

    Comment by Former Skeptic — 22 Nov 2011 @ 6:21 PM

  40. “The final paper was great though. -gavin”

    No way…it wasn’t great…it was useless. These =)(/&%$ sceptics are not dumb!!!

    Comment by Ike — 22 Nov 2011 @ 6:22 PM

  41. “[Response: Love the way you are spinning this! It is textbook stuff. For the record, I have not, am not and will not, 'hire investigators to discredit opponents'. The notion is laughable. Even funnier is that the email source for your claim doesn't discuss 'hiring investigators' either. So you have a made-up allegation, you attribute it to someone else (me) who is only peripherally mentioned later in the email, and you wrap it up in some oh-so-clever 'gotcha' question. Sorry, but you are just an idiot if you think this has any connection to reality. - gavin]”

    Ok, so if I’m such an idiot, why did you bother to reply?

    [Response: Sometimes it's not all about you. - gavin]

    Comment by Orson Presence — 22 Nov 2011 @ 6:32 PM

  42. Ian,

    You are free to suggest whatever you want. However I would appreciate you not attributing actions to me which I have not done. Exactly where have I “split the difference”? I simply made the accurate observation that which phrase one sees depends on which site they go to and followed that up with – what I believe is the equally accurate assessment – each side of the debate is working their spin. There is nothing in my statement to suggest one side or the other is correct in the terminology they use.

    dehogaza,

    Having a brother who served as a prosecutor and US Attorney, and having spent 3 months as a juror on a contract killing case, I know what matters is what is presented in court. That is the reason for judges, juries and the law. Until such time as that, what I believe is irrelevant.

    I would ask if you could explain how the source of the emails effects their content.

    Comment by timg56 — 22 Nov 2011 @ 6:41 PM

  43. TheGoodLocust:

    Don’t worry, I’ll take your silence in this matter as an admission of guilt.

    Orson Presence:

    Ok, so if I’m such an idiot, why did you bother to reply?

    And that’s the problem in a nutshell. There’s literally no response that denialists can’t spin. If you answer them, you’re taking them seriously, so they must be on to something. If you don’t answer them, you’re afraid to face them, so they must be on to something. If you use raw data, your failure to correct for the obvious biases is clear evidence of fraud. If you use adjusted data, your fudging of the data is clear evidence of fraud. If you say the science is settled, you’re a dogmatist. If you say it isn’t, then clearly the sceptic position is tenable.

    And so on, ad nauseam.

    Comment by MartinM — 22 Nov 2011 @ 6:49 PM

  44. Gavin (and crew), please have a happy US Thanksgiving Day, despite the distraction. Hope you can spend time with friends, family, whatever, and that you can juggle all of the extra responsibilities (but then, you’re good at that ;-)). Even people who usually disagree with you appreciate your effort, openness and good cheer during the last unpleasantness. Cheers. Deech.

    Comment by Deech56 — 22 Nov 2011 @ 6:50 PM

  45. [Response: Sometimes it's not all about you. - gavin]

    Sorry, I”m a bit lost here Gavin.

    Apparently it’s not about me, and on that point, I would agree. But you said I’m an idiot, so in some ways, it must be about me, according to you.

    At a logical level, surely that doesn’t hold together?

    Comment by Orson Presence — 22 Nov 2011 @ 7:00 PM

  46. Fake skeptics like Anthony Watts try to blame global warming on bad station siting. Turns out he was wrong.

    Then they try to blame it on dropout of reporting stations. Turns out that was wrong.

    The fake skeptics can hardly contain their worship for a new team to estimate temperature (the Berkeley team) which is started by a skeptic. They’re sure the new estimate will prove that the other estimates are fraudulent. Anthony Watts proclaims that he’ll accept whatever their results are, even if it contradicts him. It contradicts him. He refuses to accept their results. He launches into multiple tirades to discredit the new effort.

    Fake skeptics try to blame global warming on UHI. Turns out they were wrong.

    Fake skeptics try to claim global warming has “paused” or “slowed down” or isn’t even happening. Turns out they were wrong.

    Scoundrels resort to stealing a bunch of private emails and take them out of context so they can launch a campaign of character assassination. Multiple investigations follow, the science of global warming is vindicated. Again.

    The fake skeptics have got nothing. Zero. Zip. Squat. With all the real science against them, apparently their only recourse is to look for “sloppy seconds” in the stolen emails in a lame attempt to revive their smear campaign. It tells us all we need to know about the so-called “skeptics.” They are pathetic.

    I’m tempted to laugh — but the health, safety, even survival of the next generation is at stake. They’ll know who it was who sealed their fate.

    Comment by tamino — 22 Nov 2011 @ 7:03 PM

  47. “Ok, so if I’m such an idiot, why did you bother to reply?”

    Maybe so we can better see what an intellectual heavyweight you really are, “Orson”–so to speak. . . Here, have some more rope!

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Nov 2011 @ 7:43 PM

  48. Any chance RC could do a post addressing all the “red” ones in the QuarkSoup post?

    Comment by Anna Haynes — 22 Nov 2011 @ 7:56 PM

  49. (said first by Grypo #15)

    Comment by Anna Haynes — 22 Nov 2011 @ 7:58 PM

  50. tamino,

    Does having doubts about 40 to 50 ft rises in sea level, the spread of tropical diseases, increasing numbers and intensities of storms and host of other claims of catastrophy qualify me as a “fake” sceptic?

    Afterall, it is my money and my freedom of choice that is at risk with many of the proposed policies that have been enacted or being called for. Am I a fake for questioning how real or certain the diasterous future will actually be? You mention the survival of the next generation – pretty serious words. Can you provide any concrete evidence that the survival of my kids and (hopefully) my grand kids is at risk?

    It is one thing to be right on the causes of a warming climate. It is entirely another thing to assume that makes you right on predicting possible outcomes. Try to remember that I’m the guy who defended your right to live as you do, the guy who pays taxes, the guy who actually exercises his right to vote and the guy who will be calling for your ass if it turns out the horrible outcomes you predict are so much BS. I am exactly the person you need to be trying to convince.

    Comment by timg56 — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:08 PM

  51. Kathleen Parker’s recent Washington Post editorial says that the Republican Party has been “Palinized.” She’s also right about the stranglehold the Tea Party types have on the Party. Only John Huntsman will say he trusts the scientists while the others who once bought into AGW at different levels have now gone to the Dark Side.

    Seems to me that if things continue and the anti science tail continues to wag the dog then nothing much will change until it’s obvious to the overwhelming majority. By that time I’ve learned it will probably be very difficult times.

    Hope you guys can get it back.

    Comment by Dale — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:10 PM

  52. At a logical level, surely that doesn’t hold together?

    Consider taking an entry-level course in logic.

    Comment by MartinM — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:18 PM

  53. > the QuarkSoup post?

    Follow the pointer in Barry Bickmore’s reply, #1 in the Appel page.

    The deniers’ reactions are immediate — having read the “red” text in context, they then deny _that_ to prolong their pretense of conviction.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:20 PM

  54. Bradley:

    I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.

    Cook:

    I am afraid that Mike is defending something that increasingly cannot be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.

    Barnett:

    [IPCC AR5 models] clearly, some tuning or very good luck involved. I doubt the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer

    Jones:

    Basic problem is that all models are wrong – not got enough middle and low level clouds.

    Jones:

    I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process

    [Response: Bradley and Cook are entitled to their opinion about anybody's papers. Barnett is overstating the degree of agreement in the CMIP3 20thC runs and is wrong about the nature of the tuning that occurs. Jones is correct in both statements - models are all wrong (but the question is whether they are useful), and FOI legislation does not cover the IPCC and is not a document retention law. - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:20 PM

  55. Jryan asks: “How’s that working out for you?”

    Over 15 million visits. I’d say it’s working out pretty well. Just shows you can get somewhere telling the truth.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:35 PM

  56. MartinM @43:

    “And that’s the problem in a nutshell. There’s literally no response that denialists can’t spin. If you answer them, you’re taking them seriously, so they must be on to something. If you don’t answer them, you’re afraid to face them, so they must be on to something.”

    Exactly. Take the email #1680 where Mann counsels Jones to ignore Peisner’s request for a response in E&E to Keenan’s allegations of fraud. Jones feels frustrated because he knows whatever he says (or doesn’t say) will be twisted:

    “Q is should I respond?If I don’t they will misconstrue this to suit their ends.I could come up with a few sentences pointing out the need to look at the Chinese data rather than just the locations of the sites. Looking further at Keenan’s web site, he’s not looked at the temperature data, nor realised that the sites he’s identified are the urban stations from the 1990 paper. He has no idea if the sites for the rural Chinese stations moved, as he doesn’t seem to have this detail. Whatever I say though will be used for whatever, so it seems as though I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”

    What’s clear is that nowhere does Jones or Mann act like Keenan’s claims had merit and that they were worried that there was a scientific problem with the 1990 paper (Jones clearly thinks that Keenan’s claims are full of it). The frustration is purely because they know that anything they say to defend Wei-Chyung and the paper will be deliberately spun. And they were correct in this assessment.

    Comment by Robert Murphy — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:38 PM

  57. One thing that strikes me (assuming for purposes of discussion that this new batch really is another selection of CRU e-mails from the full set that was stolen in 2009) is: Why hold anything back for two years?

    In other words, if the hackers view this as a battle for truth, why did they not release everything at once in order to get it sorted out?

    On the other hand, if they view it as a PR battle, then holding something back makes sense. It lets them keep stirring the pot. And this is what I judge their view to be.

    I also doubt that they’ll get the result they’re looking for this time.

    Comment by Chris Winter — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:42 PM

  58. JCS: “then why is it a “PR” issue…?”

    Uh, dude, have you noticed that most universities have PR departments? NASA has a PR office. NOAA. DOE. The Vatican. I’m more than happy to look at the evidence, but I’m afraid won’t give you much to say.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:43 PM

  59. Glad to see the attention called to the Durban discussions
    I will be checking: http://unfccc.int/meetings/durban_nov_2011/meeting/6245.php

    But weren’t the last stolen batch leaked several weeks before Copenhagen? (Nov 2009) I wonder why the delay this time.

    Comment by richard pauli — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:47 PM

  60. Orson Presence,
    What Gavin said was: “Sorry, but you are just an idiot if you think this has any connection to reality.”

    This is clearly a conditional statement. I will leave it to you to decide whether you are an idiot.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 22 Nov 2011 @ 8:51 PM

  61. “But the timing of this release is strange.” – gavin

    Not in the least. The Denialists were losing credibility due to BEST.

    They had to do something to counter their spectacular PR failure.

    Comment by vendicar decarian — 22 Nov 2011 @ 9:05 PM

  62. Got a really dumb question here — at the risk of testing folks’ patience here, I’m gonna ask it anyway.

    It’s been about 4 months since the CRU released all the raw temperature data that skeptics have been screaming for since “Climategate-I”. And given that the Muir Russel Commission was able to put togethere a preliminary analysis of the CRU data in just a couple of days, I figure that 4 months is plenty of time for all those talented skeptics out there to do a real bang-up job analyzing that CRU data.

    So at the risk of sounding really stupid, I’d like to ask if anyone knows where I can find some results published by the skeptics who had been hounding the CRU for that data. I mean, didn’t 31,000 talented scientists sign some kind of skeptical petition a while ago? With talent like that scrutinizing the CRU data over the past few months, there most be some really amazing studies published somewhere. But I’ve googled high and low for them and haven’t been able to find anything. Anyone here having any better luck???

    Comment by caerbannog — 22 Nov 2011 @ 9:13 PM

  63. “I thought the main complaint was that academics spent too much time in the ivory tower. – gavin]”

    That would be in the tower preaching down at. . . .as opposed to out of the tower learning from. . . .

    Sometimes the more things change the more they remain the same.

    Comment by Bill Hunter — 22 Nov 2011 @ 9:36 PM

  64. Classic!

    Maybe Dr Schmidt can explain the context?

    Osborn:

    Because how can we be critical of Crowley for throwing out 40-years in the middle of his calibration, when we’re throwing out all post-1960 data ‘cos the MXD has a non-temperature signal in it, and also all pre-1881 or pre-1871 data ‘cos the temperature data may have a non-temperature signal in it!

    [Response: Actually I don't know what the statement about Crowley refers to (perhaps Crowley and Lowery (1999)), but the issue is whether the reason to discard data is valid or not. Simply stating that regardless of context 'throwing out data' is wrong wouldn't be smart. - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 22 Nov 2011 @ 9:44 PM

  65. Has there been any progress in the police investigation on who did it?

    CAPTCHA: tsonao (nao I understand but what is tso? temperature satellite observations?)

    Comment by jyyh — 22 Nov 2011 @ 10:06 PM

  66. Wow; tough to spin:

    Pollack:

    But it will be very difficult to make the MWP go away in Greenland. …

    Why? Since it existed?

    [Response: Who is denying the Greenland record? The issue is whether medieval temperatures were globally coherent, and the exact same email you are quoting actually says this:

    "In Antarctica things are different, with 1000 years ago cold and the LIA
    warm, i.e. anti-correlated (see the 1999 IUGG abstract MC02/E/08-B1 by
    Gary Clow). What this demonstrates is that it is possible that many of the
    favorite climatic episodes, the MWP, the LIA, may not be global phenomena."

    Your cherry-picking of quotes is completely transparent. Pollack is a very serious scientist being honest and frank about the issues (as they stood in Mar 2000!), and you are using his words as cheap parlour trick. This is pathetic. - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 22 Nov 2011 @ 10:19 PM

  67. I have an ethics question. How can emails from publicly funded scientists asking fellow colleagues to delete emails and dodge FOI requests ever be considered ethical (or legal)? If these are taken out of context, what context could possibly make them acceptable?

    Aren’t there record retention laws in academia? [edit]

    [Response: We said back in 2009 that asking people to delete emails was ill-advised, and that remains the case (as the Muir-Russell report went into in great detail). But there is no legal requirement to keep all emails - govt. agencies and universities general have policies on document retention but they don't mandate universal archiving of emails. Many of them actually suggest regular deletion of non-essential records (e.g. NASA). - gavin]

    Comment by Reg Nelson — 22 Nov 2011 @ 10:24 PM

  68. Wilson:

    Although I agree that GHGs are important in the 19th/20th century (especially since the 1970s), if the weighting of solar forcing was stronger in the models, surely this would diminish the significance of GHGs.

    [...] it seems to me that by weighting the solar irradiance more strongly in the models, then much of the 19th to mid 20th century warming can be explained from the sun alone.

    D’uh

    Comment by Number9 — 22 Nov 2011 @ 10:26 PM

  69. Thanks for this update. It’s good to hear the latest news on this front, but I must say the whole obsession over these emails is quite tiresome. Those who believe the work of selected scientists is flawed should write letters to the respective journals to discredit that work. Or, better yet, spend some time doing original research and publish your own work. Please keep up the excellent work on this site!!!

    Comment by JW — 22 Nov 2011 @ 10:48 PM

  70. models are all wrong (but the question is whether they are useful),

    Only in ‘climate science’ can something be all wrong and still be useful. Please don’t wonder anymore over why most folks don’t take AGW claims seriously.

    [Response: Perhaps you might want to think about what you are saying? A reference for you: George Box - gavin]

    Comment by EJD — 22 Nov 2011 @ 10:49 PM

  71. #50

    It is your right to do whatever you want with your money and yourself!!! It is not in your right to decide for the people that still have some brain between their ears. And you can go and threaten away. You won’t live to see 40 – 50ft of sea rise anyway…your grandkids and their kids maybe….Are you willing to risk future generations for your “money” and your “right to choose”. One’s freedom ends where somebody else’s begins. Enough is enough!!!

    Comment by DrTskoul — 22 Nov 2011 @ 10:57 PM

  72. To repeat Anna Haynes request “Any chance RC could do a post addressing all the “red” ones in the QuarkSoup post?”

    Seems to have slipped through the cracks here.
    Thanks.

    Comment by hank — 23 Nov 2011 @ 12:05 AM

  73. EJD …

    Only in ‘climate science’ can something be all wrong and still be useful. Please don’t wonder anymore over why most folks don’t take AGW claims seriously.

    Ah, someone else who won’t fly in any airliner built in the last two or three decades …

    And will refuse to submit to an MRI or CAT scan because the images doctors use for diagnosis are imperfectly constructed from model inferences …

    And on and on and on …

    (psst EJD “wrong but useful” underlies pretty much every bit of theory and engineering that you depend upon every day of your life.)

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Nov 2011 @ 12:21 AM

  74. Over here in South Africa this had brief mention as an attempt at derailing COP17, on a government radio station. It’s that simple. RC has to take it down comprehensively in case someone out there doesn’t get it. That’s all it is.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:20 AM


  75. the guy who actually exercises his right to vote and the guy who will be calling for your ass if it turns out the horrible outcomes you predict are so much BS. I am exactly the person you need to be trying to convince.

    No. You are exactly the person to better be ignored.

    Marcus

    Comment by Marcus — 23 Nov 2011 @ 2:20 AM

  76. …I’m the guy who defended your right to live as you do, the guy who pays taxes, the guy who actually exercises his right to vote and the guy who will be calling for your ass if it turns out the horrible outcomes you predict are so much BS.

    Presumably the same guy who’ll be equally stringent in punishing the folks who appear to have eliminated the chance to avoid what is odds-on favorite to be catastrophic for many. Or, if it’s not his direct progeny who are affected, will lenience be the order of the day?

    Meanwhile, the old confusion of lifestyle choices with physics: “… it is my money and my freedom of choice that is at risk…” Political party ID cards, passports or birth certificates do not determine cosmology or subordinates in the hierarchy of facts. Confusion is the result of mixing birth circumstances or political ideology into a matter primarily about the behavior of molecules subjected to a flux of energy; horoscopes are of equal utility as the characters printed on passport in describing the matter of climate behavior. “The Zodiac tells me so” is not persuasive for purposes of swaying opinions in this matter.

    Comment by dbostrom — 23 Nov 2011 @ 2:30 AM

  77. @50, timg,
    Try seeing it in another way: we all have doubts about 40-50ft sealevel rise and the other stuff you mention. Science is never finished or perfect. But the best we have is the current state of science, and it says that there is a non-negligible chance of it happening. So the real question turns out to be: can we safely ignore the risk? Should we ignore the risk?

    This is where we seem to depart. I would argue that since risk (=chance times impact) is high we should not gamble with the fate of future generations. On the other hand you seem to argue that although risk is high the chance is low so you want to be able to choose that your personal comfort and money is more important.

    But how about the libertarian philosophy that your freedom stops where it starts to impact the freedom of others? Is your life worth more then that of our children? Is it moral to gamble with their well-being so you can be a few percent richer?

    Comment by cynicus — 23 Nov 2011 @ 4:46 AM

  78. RE: Cynicus,

    Certainly. Live well, procreate, build a house not on the coast on in a flood plain, build it to last. Work hard, save, strive to keep government at a minimum. This is the best you can do for your progeny.

    Comment by Lewis Guignard — 23 Nov 2011 @ 5:14 AM

  79. It seems that a couple of my mails have been highlighted by people wishing to take them out of context. Both related to a very early draft of the IPCC fourth assessment observations chapter that I was asked to review informally as part of the accepted report preparation pathway. This would have been in 2005 or 2006 not 2011. IPCC has several review cycles and numerous lead authors on each chapter to ensure balance and representivity. However, the very earliest drafts inevitably reflect the individual contributor’s perspectives. The review which I undertook was and still is intended to catch such cases and rectify before the formal reviews. I would note that none of the formal review versions retained the vast majority of the text that was being discussed in this email. In other words the process worked. I would note in passing that my understanding is that US FOIA precludes early drafts of papers and discussions thereof precisely because it is vital to be able to discuss fully and frankly scientific work prior to publication, peer review being a necessary but not adequate condition. It is good that scientists care about issues and imperative that they are allowed to discuss report and paper drafts openly if we want the best reports and papers possible.

    As to the tropical hotspot issue I raised it was correct … in 2005/6! Here’s some headline news (if a second email tranche release also constitutes news then the bar is set very very low) … science does not stand still. In the past five years there have been multiple new studies using satellites and weather balloons, including the thermal wind evidence. These studies have highlighted even more than was the case then the substantial uncertainty in tropical tropospheric temperature records. We never made these measurements for climate, they are bedevilled by non-climatic artifacts that are poorly understood. The observational evidence is so uncertain as to include anything from somewhat less warming than at the surface to substantial amplification of surface changes aloft. So, no there is no longer anywhere near as strong evidence for a lack of a tropical hotspot as was the case then. Although of course absence of evidence is not equivalent to evidence of absence for some kind of discrepancy between observations and models. The large observational uncertainty and strong inter-model consistency make the observational uncertainty a far more plausible explanation … which was also the state of the science in 2005/6.

    Also, to correct a mis-conception (zombie argument?) that the tropical upper-troposphere hotspot is somehow a unique signature of anthropogenic warming this is frankly baloney. The tropical troposphere is dominated by convective mixing processes. Although its not as simple as just a moist adiabatic lapse rate adjustment the net effect is that the tropical tropospheric column simply amplifies whatever changes occur at the surface. If it warms the troposphere warms with greater warming aloft. If it cools the troposphere cools at an increasing rate aloft. Models and observations concur on monthly to inter-annual timescales. So, a forcings run with a net +ve surface radiative effect will have a tropical hotspot and one with net -ve surface radiative effect will have a tropical coldspot. Single forcing model runs can easily verify this and show that the hotspot is no unique signature of CO2 forcing. It just doesn’t stack up physically. The unique anthropogenic signal is a warming troposphere / cooling stratosphere … something that we see very clearly.

    Finally, the caricature that has been painted of numerous of the principle actors but particularly Phil Jones are so divorced of reality and distorted. I do not know of a single person who has done more to try to advance data sharing of meteorological data for the last 15 years than Phil Jones (if you doubt me you could mine something useful instead of personal emails … the GCOS report series to see how hard this really is to get to happen and how involved Phil Jones has been). Much of the improvement in data sharing (and there has been) is down to him and a small handful of others. That he gets painted as a data obstructionist is therefore worse than ironic, its dishonest. Data IPR is complicated, particularly when they have potential commercial or geopolitical value / sensitivity. This just is not understood fully outside a small handful of people. It is not the people, like Phil Jones, working to make the data available that people should be directing their ire at. His hands are tied … he did not take the readings and does not own the data. As noted when the data were released there may be real repercussions in terms of data sharing so release may prove a hollow victory for the requestors if it leads to less data sharing which then has a negative impact on our ability to issue accurate weather forecasts or understand future changes.

    Peter

    Comment by Peter Thorne — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:22 AM

  80. Gavin,

    Know you are busy … do you have any context for this which is viral at the moment?

    Mike: The Figure you sent is very deceptive [...] there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC

    [Response: Actually yes. It was my figure - nothing to do with Mike, and I used it in this RealClimate post. I disagreed (and disagree) with Wigley, as I stated in response at the time (2509). There is an update to the figure here, and I will update it again in a month or so.- gavin]

    Comment by Toby — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:23 AM

  81. #77

    We do not live in the far west anymore. You will be the first to ask for the government for help if thinks turn sour.

    And another thing. Risk – value analysis will show you that if the consequence is very high, even if the probability is exceedingly low, you do not mitigate – you change course. Our debate is about the magnitude of the consequences. Given that the world is to exceed 8 or 9 billion (short of an avian flu pandemic) the consequence of failing crops is enormous. And if you doubt look where is the former breadbasket of the world – Middle East, currently a desert due to changing weather patterns. Nature did that and now there is a risk that we are repeating the experiment. Are you betting your progeny’s life on that? Or God will provide? Homeostasis does not apply to single species .

    Comment by DrTskoul — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:40 AM

  82. Tamino — “apparently their only recourse is to look for “sloppy seconds” in the stolen emails in a lame attempt to revive their smear campaign.”

    ‘Sloppy-Seconds-gate’. That has a ring to it.

    Comment by J Bowers — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:51 AM

  83. If you’re looking for scandal, by the way, Norfolk Constabulary have spent nothing on the CRU hack investigation since March.

    Comment by J Bowers — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:55 AM

  84. My comment was for #78 not #77

    Comment by DrTskoul — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:55 AM

  85. Cynicus You seem to have calculated the NPV out 100 years That’s how you determine if the risk is worth the return.

    Let us in on it; otherwise it’s just an empty emotional comment.

    Comment by Number9 — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:05 AM

  86. If you want to understand the denialist movement – although not specifically the GW denialist movement, then this article is a very good and refreshing read.

    Although I am no fan of Frum, it illustrates nicely how and why reason will not work with these people.

    It is mass delusion built upon willful ignorance, and the establishment by Conservative Propaganda groups of an entirely unreal universe disjoint from the real one.

    The implications are far beyond the issue of climate change, and for this reason, a simple refutation of GW denialism can not and will not succeed since it will simply grow back from it’s ideological root.

    The root must be eradicated.

    When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?
    http://nymag.com/news/politics/conservatives-david-frum-2011-11/

    Comment by vendicar decarian — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:17 AM

  87. 70.models are all wrong (but the question is whether they are useful),

    Only in ‘climate science’ can something be all wrong and still be useful. Please don’t wonder anymore over why most folks don’t take AGW claims seriously.

    [Response: Perhaps you might want to think about what you are saying?

    Let's be clear: Jones is saying that they know the model is not complete - not enough cloud cover factored in.

    Incomplete in a key component can't be useful for forecasting

    [Response: You have no idea. Let me repeat, all models are incomplete, and all models have discrepancies to observations - no matter how complicated they are and how good the data is. Yet models are used to forecast successfully all the time. This is kind of off topic for this thread, but please read the FAQs on climate models (part i, part ii) for some background. - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:33 AM

  88. @78, Lewis,

    Indeed. We all think that it’s perfectly normal (and moral) to pay a fair price for proper waste management, in order not to burden others with our waste. This is a common ground shared by almost everyone, be it conservative, libertarian or liberal. Right?

    Then lets stop treating our atmosphere, which is mine, yours and the only one to be inherited by our decedents, as a free-of-cost open sewer. Place a fair price on carbon and other wastes released in the atmosphere that reflect their damaging potential as determined by our best understanding. It is the right thing to do.

    Comment by cynicus — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:39 AM

  89. @EJD #70:

    Only in ‘climate science’ can something be all wrong and still be useful.

    Aerodynamic models are all wrong. Airplanes can still fly.

    You’re misinterpreting “all”. The meaning is “All models are wrong”, not “Models are completely wrong.”

    Comment by chrisd3 — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:56 AM

  90. You know, the really sad thing about this whole episode from its inception in 2009 is that it has been a tremendous learning opportunity that has been largely wasted. It shows how science actually gets done by fallible but largely well meaning humans. It shows the power of the scientific method to elucidate truth even when wielded by fallible human. We see pettiness, rivalries, misunderstandings and politics. And yet not one single result has been overturned or even called into question as a result of the revelation of these emails or any other activity the denialists have carried out. NOT ONE!!!

    That is the true lesson of this affair, and the denialists have missed it utterly. Of course, to learn, one’s learning curve must have a positive slope, and those of the anti-science side of this debate seem to have slopes capped at zero.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Nov 2011 @ 8:20 AM

  91. re – #19: Hey guys – I got into the archive they haven’t released yet (with the help of a whistleblower) – this one’s pure DYNAMITE:

    Oct 22 16:27 1895
    From: Svante Arrhenius
    Subject: One world government
    To: All Who Are In On It

    Comrades,

    The first draft of my new paper is done. Please find it attached, assuming this carrier-pigeon has arrived safely. I hope it will appear in print next year and be ignored for several decades before the theory is elaborated upon around 1940. This will give us time to get our Sleepers into position. They will not live long enough to see the IPCC being set up, but their children will and will automatically be given positions at salaries equivalent to senior government officials. This in turn will prepare them to behave like senior government officials, for surely this is what they will become around 2020, when the true nature of the IPCC will be revealed as the International Protocol for Complete Communism i.e. a One World Government whose sole purpose will be to tax conservative white men. Especially the grumpy ones. Onwards and upwards – Svan

    Comment by John Mason — 23 Nov 2011 @ 8:21 AM

  92. timg56 #50,

    I’m the guy who defended your right to live as you do, the guy who pays taxes, the guy who actually exercises his right to vote and the guy who will be calling for your ass if it turns out the horrible outcomes you predict are so much BS.

    No kidding! You’re that guy? Wow!

    Comment by CM — 23 Nov 2011 @ 8:31 AM

  93. See there the root of our disagreements:

    Cynicus (77):
    “(…) your freedom stops where it starts to impact the freedom of others? Is your life worth more then that of our children? Is it moral to gamble with their well-being so you can be a few percent richer?”

    Lewis Guignard (78):
    “Certainly. Live well, procreate, build a house not on the coast on in a flood plain, build it to last. Work hard, save, strive to keep government at a minimum. This is the best you can do for your progeny.”

    Why we disagree about climate change? Because we value the future with respect to the present differently. (and other values as well, but this is certainly a biggie). A shame that one side feels compelled to distort the science to bolster their argument though.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 23 Nov 2011 @ 8:35 AM

  94. Number 9, Dr. Barry Bickmore from that bastion of liberal thought, Brigham Young University did a talk at Utah Valley College entitled, “How to avoid the truth About Climate Change.” Dr. Bickmore is a former skeptic. He’s also a lifelong Republican. He discusses the emotional mindset of the Climate denier and why people like him have such a hard time looking at the truth.

    “I gave a talk called “How to Avoid the Truth About Climate Change” for the College of Science and Health at Utah Valley University. For those of you who aren’t familiar with me, I am a Republican and a geochemist who, until a few years ago, was quite skeptical about the idea that humans are causing significant climate change.
    In the presentation, I briefly talked about how I had made the transition from being a climate change “skeptic” to being an outspoken advocate of mainstream climate science. I then discussed how it is that people like me can so effectively avoid the truth about climate change
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDNXuX6D60U&feature=player_embedded

    Comment by Dale — 23 Nov 2011 @ 8:37 AM

  95. “Also–& I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.

    Nice note! Raymond Bradley to Keith Briffa.

    [Response: Oops! There goes the narrative about how the "Team" are all in it together... - gavin]

    Comment by andy — 23 Nov 2011 @ 8:53 AM

  96. Only in ‘climate science’ can something be all wrong and still be useful. Please don’t wonder anymore over why most folks don’t take AGW claims seriously.

    All models are wrong; some models are useful. Gavin links to George Box saying this. I heard this attributed to Deming.

    As dhogaza points out this applies to other fields like engineering. It likely applies to all other fields that use models too. We work with models in the population biology field from modelling fish stocks to species at risk to determine how likely they are to go extinct.

    Even after we’ve input all the factors we think are relevant, we still know the models will be wrong in some aspect, but we know they provide more guidance (i.e. are useful) than what was done before. My colleagues down the hall tell of the days when they’d have to decide how many moose were allowed to be taken from an area. They’d look at all the data then pick a number that felt right in their gut.

    If a model is both wrong and useless then it is replaced by one that is at least useful which implies that it is more right than the preceding model (but still ‘wrong’). Models approximate the real world–they don’t replicate it–therefore they are all wrong, but are still useful.

    [Response: I'm thinking it was Hal Caswell who made comments about the utility of models that were very similar to Box's.--Jim]

    Comment by Daniel J. Andrews — 23 Nov 2011 @ 9:42 AM

  97. Gavin’s RC figure mentioned in 80 is very similar to a figure made and posted by Lucia at the Blackboard (sorry, don’t know which post so can’t link; I saved it on my harddisk). She graphed individual model runs though instead of the 95% envelope of model estimates.

    Would be interesting to see if those who are claiming that Gavins’ figure is misleading would claim the same of Lucia’s.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 23 Nov 2011 @ 10:30 AM

  98. “…Yet models are used to forecast successfully all the time.”

    Is there anything to the idea that the error spread/inaccuracies in the various models used in forecasting are taken to discern whether a high temperature is going to be 70 vs 75 … whereas the error spread/in climate models are used in climate projections that are attempting to discern tenths and hundredths of a degree..?

    I agree that models that have biases and inaccuracies in forecast models are still useful for the forecaster because the models themselves are not the forecast– and because the relative requirements for precision are on the order of whole degrees. If the precision required is vastly more refined, and if the model itself is forced to fully embody the actual forecast, would not the utility be at least somewhat reduced– even if a trending ensemble of models is still useful for its direction if not the magnitude?

    Sorry that it may be OT, but someone else started it and now I’m curious because of the response.

    [Response: The spread in an ensemble is a strong function of the metric you are looking at. In temperatures, the spread is largest on small time and space scales and reduces with larger averaging in time and space. Thus the spread in the (currently expected) 20 year global mean surface temperature trend has a sigma of ~0.1 deg C, while the July temperature in New York city in the same models has a sigma of maybe 2 deg C. In some metrics, over some time scales, the signal is drowned out by the noise, in others, it isn't. - gavin]

    Comment by Salamano — 23 Nov 2011 @ 10:43 AM

  99. This really comes down to the belief that stupid people like me can’t possibly understand the intricacy of your scientific investigations. The emails are further evidence that you have to dumb it down for us, the unwashed masses, so that we can possibly understand. Further, you have to remove hints of discontinuity in opinion and present a united front so that we don’t get it in our heads that there are other possibilities. These emails are evidence that you think we are idiots.

    What you talk about in private would just confuse us.

    My opinion. If you really want to effectively communicate this message, stop acting like we are stupid. That would be the best PR of all.

    [Response: I'm sorry you have this perception, but you are completely incorrect. These are all publishing scientists whose papers are available for all to see (often on their own websites, or via a library) where all of the details are laid bare. Our climate models and data are freely available for anyone to play with, analyse and publish on. If you are complaining that the media does not give proper account of the complexities, then you are correct, and you would find that most scientists would agree with you, but scientists are not in charge of the media, and continually struggle against the biases (towards sensationalism and conflict and away from nuance and complexity) that exist. That indeed was one of the founding ideas of this website, that scientists could interact directly with the public at whatever level of complexity was appropriate. Nonetheless, scientists have been burned again and again by people taking short quotes and twisting them to mean the opposite of what was intended, and here we have another prime set of examples. It is unfortunate (though understandable) that some scientists take that as cue to not speak in public. I choose to continue to do so because it is actually in providing more information directly, one can remove much of the ambiguity that accompanies many media stories. But the idea that scientists think the public is 'stupid' is far from the truth. Sometimes confused, sometimes inattentive, sometimes uneducated, but stupid? Not at all. - gavin]

    Comment by Charlie Z — 23 Nov 2011 @ 10:48 AM

  100. I was fortunate enough to have worked with Phil Jones on a couple of projects (as a rather minor contributor), and I agree with Peter Thorne @79 that the characature that has been painted of him is entirely divorced from reality, and would be laughable if not for the effect it has had on a good scientist and a decent man. I very much hope Phil and the other scientists involved are not deflected from the good work they are doing, which ultimately is the best response.

    I am very grateful to RC for being a voice of reason following the release of both tranches of stolen emails.

    Comment by Gavin Cawley — 23 Nov 2011 @ 10:54 AM

  101. The problem with these emails is that they convey a sense of subterfuge coupled with some very insensitive remarks aimed at their peers. Regardless of the science, it gives the group the appearance of being unprofessional which lends credence to the claims that the science may have been done in an unprofessional manner as well. Proving or disproving the AGW hypothesis should not be a PR contest; it should be an open discussion as we all stand to lose much if it is true and the worst case scenarios are possible. Why “hide” anything? Share the data among the peer groups. Truth will out.

    Comment by Mike Lewis — 23 Nov 2011 @ 11:00 AM

  102. Gavin I am an Ecologist with several decades of experience, I have been following the Climate Change debate for more than a decade. I have long since held the view that there are evolutionary traits in animals and plants throughout the world which demonstrate that there has been no increase in climate variability over the past 200 years, and one might strongly argue that the evolutionary traits of much of the Australian Fauna and Flora would suggest climate variability similar to that of the last 200 years has existed for several hundred thousand. When I have raised these issues I have been heavily berated by many peers who are in the Climate Change industry in an antagonistic fashion, however most of my peers in Science and Ecology tend to support my position.
    My question is that these emails clearly state that the debate is not settled even amongst yourselves. There are emails which are not taken out of context and bring into question the quality of the models. There are questions about the models not being supported by the evidence, limited as that is at the moment. Why do you seek to discredit scientists whose opinions differ from yours? Why is there not an effort to collaborate with those scientists? And why are the fundamentals of science disregarded in this debate. Question everything, no hypothesis can be proven true etc…
    It is clear that FOIA’s issue relating to this was that the amount of money going to be thrown at emissions reductions is incredible, it could feed the world, or from my perspective, it could permanently protect every rainforest on the planet. Surely the trillions of dollars going into this industry would be better used in multi-result activities such as conservation of rainforests and wetlands? I would not presume that you are profiteering from this industry, but at some point it would be nice to see what financial restitution you and your colleagues have received in the last 20 years from the public purse. I did note that one email identified the US Government as a primary funder and that this was a consideration in how you developed your reports and selected information to include or exclude, how is this possibly ethical? Please try to be civil in your response as I have noticed numerous responses above that were not.

    [Response: Neither evolutionary pressures of climate variability, nor the imagined 'trillions' of dollars going into the 'industry' (?) are mentioned in any of the emails I have read. These scientists work mainly on data set production, proxy reconstructions and a little on climate modeling, so I'm not quite getting the relevance. Research that the US Govt. (via NSF, NASA, NOAA, DOE etc.) pays for is all publicly described and is competitively awarded in dozens of calls per year. Perhaps if you were a little more specific about what you were concerned about I could help, but I don't recognise any of your issues from the description in your comment. - gavin]

    Comment by Jeff Short — 23 Nov 2011 @ 11:07 AM

  103. @ 98 Gavin Cawley

    I just read one of the emails that had one from Keenan seemingly trying to divide and conquer Jones and Wang, with the accusations of fabrication against Wang. How the scientists have put up with this crap for so long is testament to their character. It must feel like they have stalkers.

    Comment by J Bowers — 23 Nov 2011 @ 11:10 AM

  104. Gavin wrote : “We said back in 2009 that asking people to delete emails was ill-advised…”

    That raises the question: what about the email that were download to personal storage? I one of the newly leaked emails Keith Briffa writes “UEA does not hold the very vast majority of mine anyway which I copied onto private storage after the completion of the IPCC task.” [http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=2044 ]

    Shouldn’t Keith return those to UEA and provide copies of the records covered in the freedom of information request to all parties who were wrongfully denied access? That would be the right thing to do, wouldn’t it?

    [Response: I have no idea of what Keith has or has not done, what requests were or were not received. nor what requests were rightfully or wrongfully denied. As to what the 'right' thing to do would be depends on all of those details and the UK FOI legislation. You would need to raise that with the UK ICO. But assuming all of that in the absence of any relevant evidence is simply insinuation. - gavin]

    Comment by Alec, aka Daffy Duck — 23 Nov 2011 @ 11:14 AM

  105. Re Jeff Short, 102

    I’m not clear how ‘evolutionary traits’ could have been expressed in responsse to climate variability changes if those changes have occurred only over the past 50 – 100 years, surely that’s a bit rapid?

    “I would not presume that you are profiteering from this industry, but at some point it would be nice to see what financial restitution you and your colleagues have received in the last 20 years from the public purse. ”

    Oh please, do you really believe non-clinical scientists in universities and government bodies are in this for the money? Really?

    Comment by Ian Bradbury — 23 Nov 2011 @ 11:49 AM

  106. Mike Lewis #101: there is enough public data to test everything. And this has been done repeatedly. Go to the data sources link at the top of this page if you want to do so yourself.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 23 Nov 2011 @ 12:01 PM

  107. Ray Ladbury @ 90

    “You know, the really sad thing about this whole episode from its inception in 2009 is that it has been a tremendous learning opportunity that has been largely wasted.”

    The deniers may be a largely a lost cause anyway, but for most of us there’s the media. Excluding those not consciously engaged in propaganda, there’s a big bunch who, while they go to great lengths to check their gabbling for grammar and spelling, nevertheless gasp and fall down exhausted when it comes to checking the group-think assumptions in their ‘work’ product.

    The sphere of consensus contains what “everyone knows,” assertions that do not have to be backed up or sourced. The sphere of legitimate controversy contains all those issues on which there are “sides” with differing perspectives, typically quoted in he-said she-said fashion. And the sphere of deviance contains all that nuttery that Serious People simply don’t discuss.

    When press critics talk about media “bias,” reporters think immediately about the sphere of legitimate controversy. They think, well, we don’t take sides in those disputes, so we’re objective. What they often have trouble seeing is that what gets included in what sphere is itself an intrinsically political question.

    When Broder states as fact that ozone rules are a net economic drain on business, he is engaged in a political act, though he probably doesn’t think of it that way. He is helping conservatives do something they’ve been trying to do for decades: drive the notion that government regulations are inherently economically harmful into the sphere of consensus, to make it something that everyone knows so no reporter has to support with evidence.

    And when Broder presents the public health damage of smog as something “environmentalists say,” he is helping conservatives keep that fact — which is overwhelmingly supported by scientific evidence — out of the sphere of consensus.

    The pattern has played out on a larger scale on climate change. The conservative campaign against climate science has never been about disproving it, it’s merely been about keeping it out of the sphere of consensus. That’s what “teach the controversy” is all about.”

    via Climate Progress

    Comment by Radge Havers — 23 Nov 2011 @ 12:02 PM

  108. Mike Lewis #101 – such data sharing has already taken place, and all efforts so far support the mainstream view.

    Comment by guthrie — 23 Nov 2011 @ 12:11 PM

  109. DrTskoul,

    Where am I claiming the right to decide for anyone else. If you believe that it is imperative to replace coal generation plants with “renewable” forms of generation you are free to invest in those companies trying to develop them. I’m even willing to support certain tax incentives to spur development. You are free to donate your time and money to any non-profit organization that supports causes and actions you believe in. And I strongly support those donations being tax deductable for you. And if the utility company that provides you your gas and electricity is one of the many that offer Green Energy options – i.e. customers may select that option and pay at a slightly higher rate to help fund green programs by the utility – please do not let me stop you. (Interesting to note that a major utility in California just scrapped their Green option due to no one siging up to it. If not in California, then where?)

    As for what brains I retain between my ears, I manage to stumble along with what I have. Stumbled into 3 degrees, 2 of which were of the graduate science sort, along the way. But you are probably right. Afterall, they don’t call torpedomen knuckle dragging, mouth breathing grunts for nothing.

    And you are also correct in stating I won’t live to see 40 – 50 ft sea level rise. As for grandkids, (or great, great grand kids) maybe. But probably not. At least not according to any existing evidence.

    And since it is highly unlikely that I am “risking” either the next generation or the one after that, while many of the policies being pushed carry significant risk to generations currently alive today, I think I’ll choose the more tried and – so far – proven method of doing my best to help my kids become responsible, contributing members of society, which they will hopefully pass on to their kids, so that by the time we reach those “future” generations you refer to, they will find it isn’t the hellish doomsday you apparently believe it is going to be.

    [Response: Discussions are generally fostered by not building up strawman characterisations of the arguments made by the people you are discussing with. I have no idea what 'hellish doomsday' scenarios you are suggesting is the mainstream postion. Nothing resembling that can be found in the reports of the National Academies or the IPCC. Neither is there any prediction of 40-50 ft rises in sea level in the near future, even on the centennial scale. Since the reasons for concern that is expressed is not related to either of these issues, arguing that your disbelief in their existence means that you should have no reason for concern is illogical. Stick to the likely impacts of 3 or 4 or 5 deg C warming, and perhaps 1 m of sea level rise, and then argue (if you must) that no investment is worthwhile to avoid that. - gavin]

    Comment by timg56 — 23 Nov 2011 @ 12:17 PM

  110. gavin responded to timg56: “I have no idea what ‘hellish doomsday’ scenarios you are suggesting is the mainstream postion.”

    Texas.

    [Response: My point was not to suggest that impacts of global warming are going to be benign - they are not. But even a severe drought and exceptional warmth is not a 'hellish doomsday'. You don't do your case any good by adopting such language. - gavin]

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 23 Nov 2011 @ 12:42 PM

  111. Gavin, the RC welcome page specifically states “Thus we will not get involved in political or economic issues that arise when discussing climate change.”

    But here you are with an entire thread dedicated to discussing the release of emails where little if any actual science is discussed.

    So if I take your actions here and put them together with Michael Mann’s email that specifically refers to the idea that Real Climate is in fact waging a “PR battle”. I come to the conclusion that you are indeed discussing political issues and Real Climate is in fact exactly what Michael Mann says this website is.

    A PR machine for climate scientists. Which means that Real Climate is NOT about just the science at all – now is it?

    [Response: Would you like a pretzel with that logic? - gavin]

    Comment by patrioticduo — 23 Nov 2011 @ 12:45 PM

  112. cynicus,

    You point about risk assessment and risk management is a good one. And I am strongly in favor applying these techniques to the issues related to climate change, or more accurately to the policies which climate change is apparently driving.

    I do question your statement that science currently says there is a non-negligible chance of 40 ft sea level rise (or any of the other doomsday predictions). As a life long fan of Science Fiction, I’ve read SF stories that have a firmer basis in science than many of the predictions I’ve seen about the consquences of a warmer planet. A rise of 1 meter in the next 100 years? That could be considered as a non-negligible risk, although not by any means a certainty. Should we look at mitigation factors for that? By all means. Should those include drastic reductions in coal burning? Only if you can directly show that it is the most effective means of mitigation or will even work to mitigate a rise in sea level.

    I am not saying we can afford to ignore the risk. I am saying we first have to more accurately quantify the risk, something that has not been done. And once we have quantified it, we have to assess whether the proposed solutions or risk mitigation proposals will a) actually reduce the risk and b) not create other risks that are as bad or worse. Otherwise we get things like Naiomi Klein’s opinion piece in The Nation, which among other things, calls for a de-carbonization of agriculture, with the added bonus of providing a decrease in unemployment. Or bio-fuels policy which diverts food stocks into fuel production stocks, causing food price increases and shortages in the poorer parts of the world.

    It isn’t that I have little or no regard to future generations as it is my having a regard to those generations alive today. And if you care about those people, then you will realize that perhaps the best means to improve their lives is by providing access to inexpensive energy. You also incorrectly attribute to me the believe that I think the risk is in fact high – as yet I don’t. So absent any risk, exactly what am I gambling?

    On the issue of my money – I happen to believe that I am best qualified to determine where it goes and how it is used. Just as I give you the benefit of doubt and assume you also are best qualified to determine what you do with yours.

    And to tie this back into the thread – the most potentially worrisome thing I see about the emails is that they give a – possible – indication that more than just the science of climate has been at play. As Dr Schmidt has indicated here, the “disagreement”, “doubts” and questions of how to “manage or portray” the data is much a part of what goes on in science. But when you start seeing stuff about “the cause”, at least then your ears should perk up and you should start paying more attention. I take it on faith that God exists. Most everything else requires at least some degree of proof and that is where I am with climate change. Show me some proof that doomsday awaits.

    [Response: "Show me some proof that doomsday awaits." - this is of course impossible, thereby relieving you of the necessity of considering any risks at all. How clever. But isn't this kind of rhetorical flourish a little beneath you? - gavin]

    Comment by timg56 — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:03 PM

  113. patrioticduo:

    Gavin, the RC welcome page specifically states “Thus we will not get involved in political or economic issues that arise when discussing climate change.”

    But here you are with an entire thread dedicated to discussing the release of emails where little if any actual science is discussed.

    Hmmm … I’m missing the part where they said they wouldn’t defend themselves or their colleagues against accusations of scientific fraud …

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:12 PM

  114. timg56 said… “…they will find it isn’t the hellish doomsday you apparently believe it is going to be.”

    The “hellish doomsday” for future generations is more likely to be a function of where you happen to be born. In my reading of the science those born in wealthy nations are going to be much less impacted in the near term. Those born in poor nations, people whose situations are already fairly desperate, are very much likely to see something that would fit the description.

    It sounds as if you are fully capable of reading and comprehending the published literature. Read the IPCC AR4. Follow the published literature. See what it states. There actually is a high likelihood that there will be significant impacts, some significant impacts even within our own lifetime.

    It would be a mistake to assume that somehow the cure is worse than the disease for people today. The financial impacts of extreme weather events are not insignificant. As well the solutions are ones that actually generate positive domestic economic activity.

    I am constantly amazed when I read the fear and anger in the words of people like timg56. Where does this come from? You can’t pawn that off on the scientists. They’re only doing their jobs researching and publishing their findings. Tim, why are you so angry about attempting to solve what is clearly “very likely” to be a serious problem for humanity?

    Comment by Rob Honeycutt — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:15 PM

  115. @89, Number9,

    This is probably effort spent for nothing, but you are wrong. Dead wrong actually. You assume that risk translates automatically to NPV. It doesn’t. Think about it.

    Comment by cynicus — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:16 PM

  116. patrioticduo… Hm, so we constantly hear that climate scientists need to better communicate with the general public. But when they communicate with the public they are accused of waging a political battle?

    If you read through the responses to the out of context email in this thread I think you’ll find that Dr Schmidt is attempting to put each email into a proper scientific context. But you don’t even need to rely on Dr Schmidt.

    For those who claim they are “skeptics” surely the appropriate course of action for a true skeptic would be to download the full set of emails and read the full context of each email for themselves. It’s a big job but being truly skeptical is a very time consuming task. Just deciding you’re right and those you want to disagree with are wrong is a very easy task, but not very skeptical.

    Comment by Rob Honeycutt — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:28 PM

  117. Thanks, Gavin, for your patient explanations and professional tone throughout all the nonsense flying around. It is educational on several levels. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

    Comment by Mac — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:32 PM

  118. 104 Alec, aka Daffy Duck — “That raises the question: what about the email that were download to personal storage?”

    I believe Wegman downloaded all of his emails to his laptop and they were deleted from the GMU server. Perhaps that’s what’s hindering the GMU investigation into his alleged academic plagiarism and he should return them.

    Comment by J Bowers — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:32 PM

  119. Dr. Schmidt,

    I refer to UN predictions of 50 million climate refugees, to an editor of a British medical journal stating that climate change represents a risk greater to mankind than all of the world’s communicable and non-communicable diseases, to claims ranging from increased frequencies and intensities of storms to mass extinctions of species.

    You state above that you believe that the impacts from a warmer planet will not be beneign. I tend to think that some will, some will not and some may be net beneficial. But I don’t know this with any certainty. What I am willing to do because of that uncertainty is to consider courses of action to take, on the condition that the more drastic the course, the more evidence be provided as to the certainty of how non-beneign the impacts will be. In moving from the realm of science to the realm of policy, I expect the former to provide me with solid information on which I can base my decisions.

    FYI – this is meant just as a response back to you and doesn’t have to be posted, since it does not directly concern the issue of hacked emails.

    [Response: There is an excellent "Foresight" report that tackles the rather ill-defined concept of 'climate refugees' very sensibly - read that first. - gavin]

    Comment by timg56 — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:33 PM

  120. Gavin –

    This is a tad off topic, still you seem like a reasonable chap.

    I’m so tired of taking some denial-ist comment with a full degree of respect, following there reasoning to the original source of information, examining the data to the best of my ability, then being left to conclude that they are just s incomprehensibly wrong that I must have discovered some deep connection to an alternative universe. (or, I have been just naive regarding the honest and good intent of most, or insanity is much more common than I have previously thought.)

    A recent comment presented this quote, supposedly from AR5 draft;

    “in the past few years the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has entered its negative phase, which will continue for the 2 to 3 decades…” This is combined with another quote, “Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change…”

    Would you be so kind to explain the meaning and general expected outcome of these quotes? You can choose any reading level between “electrical engineer that took four years of statistics” to “I love Dr. Seuss”. I lean towards, “I love Dr. Seuss” or “Executive Summary”.

    I am interested, but no longer willing to take time away from watching the grass grow on my front lawn to track down the context or fundamentals of denialist comments. Still, I would like to remain an informed and intelligent voter.

    I just would like to get a basic idea of what the expected value of mean global temperature and variance is with respect to these quotes. It might suggest, in the right context, a flattening of the previous and undeniable trend of “up”. It might mean something particularly dull or particularly interesting.

    Thanks much,

    [Response: I doubt the quotes come from the draft of AR5, though the second probably comes from the SREX report (via a leaked copy to Richard Black at the BBC). I don't see anything particularly problematic with either though. Short time periods are not useful for determining trends even in the mean, let alone the distribution of extremes - the best we can hope for there is some amount of fractional attribution. As for the PDO, I'm not sure how the prediction is so definitive, but this is a small factor in global temperature trends, though regionally it is more important. What climate will actually do is of course a function both of the forced changes, but also the particular path taken by the internal variability. The former is more predictable than the latter. - gavin]

    Comment by John Fitzgerald — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:33 PM

  121. Gavin: Great work at supplying some missing context to these e-mails. However I think that SecularAnimist (post at 12:42, number 110) was making a tongue in cheek comment. I have seen their posts for many years and they have acted many times to set the scientific record straight.

    Regards,
    John

    Comment by John Cross — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:33 PM

  122. Does anyone seriously believe that the release of this tranche is anything to do with Durban? Remember Copenahagen and Cancun, they produced nothing. Kyoto produced an agreement that nobody achieved. I’m puzzled as to what the people on this site see as the end game to what they’re trying to achieve. I have always used the maxim that you should know what victory looks like before you enter the fray. So I am asking everyone who has a desire to change the world we live in what they see as the end game. What, practically do they see the new world they’re trying to create looking like? Gaving you have my email address I’d appreciate your views.

    G

    Comment by geronimo — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:37 PM

  123. This really comes down to the belief that stupid people like me can’t possibly understand the intricacy of your scientific investigations. The emails are further evidence that you have to dumb it down for us, the unwashed masses, so that we can possibly understand. Further, you have to remove hints of discontinuity in opinion and present a united front so that we don’t get it in our heads that there are other possibilities. These emails are evidence that you think we are idiots.

    #99 Charlie Z. sounds like David Brin’s crazy uncle:

    8. I don’t care, I hate science:

    Yep, that is the fall-back refrain. Hatred of people who know stuff. Not just science, but also teachers, diplomats, journalists, lawyers, professors, medical doctors, civil servants, skilled union labor… you name a caste of knowledge and professional intellect — of knowing stuff – and it’s under attack…
    Again. Scientists aren’t being dissed in order to detract from the theory of climate change. Climate change denialism is being pushed in order to help know-nothing-ism win the War on Science.

    Charlie, people like you can understand the intricacies of climate science and the way it’s conducted by experts, if you’re willing to put the time and effort into becoming an expert yourself. Are you up for years of training, laboratory work, data analysis, and model development? Are you willing to submit your ideas to the criticisms (hoo boy) of peers who’ve already covered all that ground? It’s not enough to be smart — you actually have to know something about the subject. If you’re not willing to do the work yourself, you have no choice but to leave it to the scientists who have. Why is that so hard to accept?

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:38 PM

  124. Ian Bradbury – I think you misinterpreted me, I will hope to cliarify. I was referring in particular to the physiology and instinctive behaviour of fauna of Australia, and example is the Kangaroo, their high efficiency and adaptability to arid conditions and to respond quickly in reproduction to rain events in particular, I would go in detail but no space etc. Anyhow this physiology is highly suggestive that the severe weather conditions in Australia, in particular severe droughts, that have been attributed to ACC have been occuring long before the last 200 years. As you say it takes more than a few hundred years to evolve that way, thus it is clear that these conditions have been occuring for an evolutionary time frame (Hundreds of thousands of years). For a flora example just look at any Eucalyptus species or Acacia species in Australa that are still healthy and green leaves in the “worst drought in history” resulting from ACC (see Tim Flannery). The flora and fauna of Australia have evolved to thrive in low moisture dry periods, why because they have been occuring for millenia. There are numerous similar examples of species in Canada, Europe and South America.

    [Response: Is this, in your mind, supposed as a novel insight of some type?--Jim]

    Gavin, FOIA clearly use the trillions of dollars as one of the reasons for releasing the information. I can at least sympathise with their position. It is clearly trillions of dolalrs around the world being thrown at ACC through various programs, the Australian Government through its carbon tax alone will have taxed and reallocated $1 Trillion on this issue by 2050 and that 210 Billion Euro have been spent on Carbon Credits in the last 5 years. This is just 2 of many programs. So there are Trillions being spent, it is undeniable. Surely this money is better allocated to protecting natural features on the planet which not only help battle climate change but also protect biodiversity? Why is this so hard to argue for?

    [Response: You are at liberty to argue for any allocation of resources you like. Personally, I don't see biodiversity protection as antithetical to climate change mitigation (indeed, I'd argue they are strongly linked), but the idea that future funding for CC mitigation and adaptation is harming biodiversity now is odd. Why aren't you arguing for those funds to come out of the (much larger) defense budgets? or from reductions in oil subsidies? or tax breaks for the wealthy? or welfare for the poor? Governments spend lots of money on many things. - gavin]

    In regards to my last light little dig, you would do yourself a great service to disclose what financial gains you have made from Climate Change, as I strongly suspect it is not insubstantial, and although you no doubt got into this for the passion, you’re surely making a good buck out of it now so it is of course always going to be in your interests to maintain “the cause”.

    [Response: Well if you want to go down that road, then how much do you think I make--or have made to date--from my involvement/interest in the climate change issue? Take a wild guess.--Jim]

    [Response: Oh please. If I wanted to make pots of money, I would have gone into the City as a 'quant' like many of my cohort. I have a civil servant job which is reasonably well paid, and which allows me to live in a one-bedroom apartment in an unfashionable neighbourhood of New York City. Woohoo! Please leave your lame imaginings at home. - gavin]

    Healthy Polite Scientific debate is rare, and I do have respect for the passion and effort you put in your research, I just think we get blinded to the possibilities some times…ultimately i agree we have a terrible environmental impact on this planet and efforts shhould be/are being made to curb that impact, but i do not agree entirely in our contribution to Climate Change.

    [Response: Healthy polite scientific debate is not helped by your insinuations that the scientists are corrupt. How difficult is that to work out? - gavin]

    Comment by Jeff Short — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:48 PM

  125. patrioticduo @ 111, if you want a site that discusses the political and economic issues that arise when discussing climate change, go here:
    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/issue/

    Meanwhile this site explains planetary physics and sometimes chemistry to the public. To do this it is sometimes necessary to explain disinformation that is spread by others.

    Both sites are quite valuable yet the difference between them is hard to miss.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 23 Nov 2011 @ 1:54 PM

  126. This is probably effort spent for nothing, but you are wrong. Dead wrong actually. You assume that risk translates automatically to NPV. It doesn’t. Think about it.

    Comment by cynicus

    I take it then you don’t have a quantifiable measure and are left with just emotion.

    Not that I’m surprised.

    Comment by Number9 — 23 Nov 2011 @ 2:10 PM

  127. > political and economic issues
    See the right sidebar for more.
    I recommend EcoEquity

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Nov 2011 @ 2:16 PM

  128. Please provide some context for the following emails:

    Jones:

    We don’t really want the bullshit and optimistic stuff that Michael has written[...] We’ll have to cut out some of his stuff.

    Briffa:

    Also there is much published evidence for Europe (and France in particular) of increasing net primary productivity in natural and managed woodlands that may be associated either with nitrogen or increasing CO2 or both. Contrast this with the still controversial question of large-scale acid-rain-related forest decline? To what extent is this issue now generally considered urgent, or even real?

    ———

    From these emails, it seems like the “optimistic stuff” is not “bullshit.” In fact, the positive consequences seem to be supported by empirical evidence, and should not be left out of the policy discussions.

    Overall, that emails reveal nothing horribly scandalous. However, they do quite clearly demonstrate an organized effort to “market” climate change as a disaster that must be avoided at all costs. Again, there’s nothing wrong with making this argument, but that is not science, and it makes the proponents look more like lobbyists, then scientists. The result, at least from my perspective and probably many others, is a further reason to question the credibility of global warming proponents as scientists.

    [Response: On the first, see above. On the second, these questions are posed at the end of an assessment of a research proposal, presumably as issues to be addressed. Briffa proposed that the proposal be rejected because there wasn't enough appreciation of how hard attribution of forest stresses to various impacts (CO2, nitrates, acid rain etc.) would be. I'm not sure how damning that is supposed to be. - gavin]

    Comment by Bernard King — 23 Nov 2011 @ 2:19 PM

  129. geronimo says:” So I am asking everyone who has a desire to change the world we live in what they see as the end game. What, practically do they see the new world they’re trying to create looking like? ”

    I don’t need an end game to vote, just an understanding of the difference between right and wrong.

    I can take this one as it it more a philosophical attitude kind of question. If I understand your perspective correctly, it’s actually a telling difference between individual philosophies. Do I pick fights that I can win, or fights worth fighting?

    It does make sense to approach things from a “pick your fight” perspective, after all, spending life chasing lost causes can be very tiring. On the other hand, there are some things that are just important enough that the end game doesn’t matter. Like, oh….I don’t know….”reality”, the difference between what is real and isn’t real?

    Perhaps I’m an idealist. My dog is a realist. He couldn’t care less about climate change. His end game is when will he get fed again and will there be food when that time comes. If I go out for the day, he saves it, just in case I don’t come back. I give him one of those dog treats in the shape of a bone. He just sits with it for hours, until I get back. Then he decides he can eat it. Smart dog.

    He wonders why I bother posting replies to some guy who says, “Hey, the climate has been cooling since 1998″.

    My dog asks me, “Why do you bother? The guy isn’t gonna believe you. And, it’s not gonna get you more food.” (He doesn’t really ask, he’s not that smart. But I like to imagine his perspective. After all, he’s at least pragmatic.)

    And I tell him that he is right, this guy isn’t gonna get it. I tell him that he shouldn’t worry too much, it’s not like I’m gonna argue with my boss about it.

    “At work, I’ll agree with my boss all day long,” I say, “That way, I can always buy you more dog treats.” He is glad to hear this.

    “But, I’m not hungry right now. And you’re not hungry right now. And humans are a bit different than dogs,” I explain.

    “You can just stare out the window and be happy. People need to do something, however minimal it may be, that might make a difference. I may not convince this denialist guy. But someone else is gonna read it.”

    He seems to like it better when I talk with contractions. He gets a little upset when I “talk down to him.”

    “And, lacking any other information, they may believe it. At the least, I can give them an honest and truthful perspective. Maybe I’m just dreaming. Or maybe I am just one little cell in a larger body, one little neuron in a bigger brain called humanity. I’m not a millionaire. I’m not holding a political position.”

    “I’m not personally going to change the world. But, maybe one person will read my comment and not repeat the bs. I wouldn’t know what the world should look like if I had the power to change it, but I know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, truth and bs.”

    “For all I know, that we can effect global temperature has kept us from plunging into another ice age.”

    “What I am pretty sure of is that, what ever the world should eventually look like, it’s not going to look better because people spread dis-information. And knowing the truth, isn’t going to make it worse.”

    That’s what I tell my dog, anyways.

    Comment by John Fitzgerald — 23 Nov 2011 @ 3:07 PM

  130. #106 and #108 – No, the data and methods have NOT been shared. Raw data has been obfuscated with “corrections” and is an indecipherable hodgepodge of meaningless numbers. The models fail to account for all known factors and their predictive value have been shown to be lacking. Results cannot be duplicated because the methods haven’t been shared. There is NOT a consensus as is vehemently claimed and the science is far from settled. Unfortunately this has become a political battle as much as a scientific one. When falsehoods are portrayed as reality, it’s time for pause.

    [Response: Indeed, when falsehoods are portrayed as reality, it is time for a pause. So why are you continuing to make things up? Result *have been* duplicated, and all the raw data anyone could possibly have needed to figure out whether there was any problem have always been available. All the claims of raw data being 'obfuscated' have been proven false, as was completely obvious from the beginning.--eric]

    Comment by Mike Lewis — 23 Nov 2011 @ 4:02 PM

  131. Re: the Bradley quote about the Mann paper that should never have been published (back at #11; sorry, I’m a little behind.)

    Oh boy! The Team’s dirty laundry’s out in the open! Bradley thinks Mann has published a paper that should not have passed peer review! Without the hackers, we would never have known!

    Never, that is, unless we read Bradley’s book, where he says as much: Global Warming and Political Intimidation, p. 75.

    Boy, these are some “dynamite” revelations… yawn.

    Comment by CM — 23 Nov 2011 @ 4:13 PM

  132. Bernard @128:

    Here’s a better quote from Jones (email 3062);

    “This didn’t matter, but a month ago we got sent a couple of pages (attached) on marine low-res proxies (from Michael Schulz who was at Wengen). In the next few days, can you write a couple of pages on terrestrial low-res proxies – varves mainly. We don’t really want the bullshit and optimistic stuff that Michael has written that sounds as though it could have been written by a coral person 25 years ago. We’ll have to cut out some of his stuff. What we want is good honest stuff, warts and all, dubious dating, interpretation marginally better etc.”

    When he said he didn’t want the *optimistic stuff*, he wasn’t talking possible benign or positive effects of warming; he was talking about studies that were over optimistic about the uncertainties involved. That’s why he wanted “good honest stuff, warts and all, dubious dating, interpretation marginally better etc.”.

    Comment by Robert Murphy — 23 Nov 2011 @ 4:17 PM

  133. Gavin and Co. – Firstly, I’ll thank you for your responses so far. Your ‘insider’ insights and comments are always appreciated by the rational community.

    Secondly, I’d advise not to bother doing another marathon weekend as happened two years ago, impressive and welcome as it was at the time. The current river of effluent that is being dredged up on the flimsiest of interpretations is not worth giving up another well-earned weekend off for, judging by the quality so far.

    Your efforts make little impact on those participating in what is a concerted partisan campaign and can be equally well addressed come Monday. For the rest of us, it’s like being compelled to watch re-run after re-run of a show where the already predictable ending is already known.

    Comment by chek — 23 Nov 2011 @ 4:24 PM

  134. What some would like to know is this.
    After you take into account the water covered areas, then the cold ice covered areas, then the desert areas, then the farmed areas, then the high mountain areas,,
    just how much of the planet has trees. The percentage must be rather small. Would this enter into the calucations and by how much and how?

    Thanks
    NEEDTOUNDERSTAND

    Comment by NEEDTOUNDERSTAND — 23 Nov 2011 @ 4:29 PM

  135. Mike Lewis #129 – thank you for showing us your true side in this.
    Meanwhile the earth warms further and the scientists doing the work continue to pile up evidence against your opinion.

    Comment by guthrie — 23 Nov 2011 @ 5:16 PM

  136. Mike Lewis@130
    Bullshit. You have 5 independent temperature series, a couple of dozen peleoclimate reconstructions, several GCMs, multiple ice core reconstructions, boreholes and on and on.

    You have Svante Arrhenius predicting warming 115 years ago and 50 years before that of CO2 being known as a greenhouse gas.

    You are either astoundingly ignorant or disingenuous. I’ll let you pick which you consider the lesser charge.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Nov 2011 @ 5:35 PM

  137. The new email release is a bit ‘patchy’ (no pun intended), there’s a lot that could be misinterpreted without the proper context. For example (2577), email from Phil Jones to John Mitchell at the Met Office;

    John,

    I’ve called Jo to say I’m happy with their response. I’ll also delete this email after I’ve sent it. We’ve had a request for all our internal UEA emails that have any bearing on the subject, so apologies for brevity.

    See you in November!
    Cheers
    Phil

    It does sound rather conspiratorial. Didn’t Acton, on Jones behalf, assure the Muir Russell that no emails had been deleted? why does Jones keep going on about deleting stuff under FOI(?)? It would be nice to get to the bottom of this once and for all.

    Comment by GSW — 23 Nov 2011 @ 5:40 PM

  138. Geronimo at 122 said Kyoto produced an agreement that nobody achieved.
    There’s more to the world than the USA: some countries have achieved their targets.

    Comment by turboblocke — 23 Nov 2011 @ 5:41 PM

  139. I’d like to echo Chek’s comment @133.

    You’re all entitled to your usual breaks. There is no reason, absolutely nil, zilch, zero, no reason at all to sacrifice anything to deal with this trivial guff.

    Thanks to you all for what you’ve dealt with so far.

    Comment by adelady — 23 Nov 2011 @ 5:43 PM

  140. 130 Mike Lewis — “Raw data has been obfuscated with “corrections””

    I wish someone had sent McI that paperwork, which would have probably been taller than Niagara Falls.

    Comment by J Bowers — 23 Nov 2011 @ 5:49 PM

  141. Lot of hot air at Pielke’s blog on the Landsea affair (2005), when (it is alleged) Trenberth and Jones ensured a Roger Pielke Jnr paper was not seen by the IPCC. Pielke is doing a sort of triumphal strut, claiming to be justified by a couple of emails. Any comment? If it has already been addressed, just refer to the response above.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/10/shameful-article-review-and-update.html

    [Response: Whining about how a paper of yours should have been cited in AR4 merely because you wrote something you consider relevant is a little petty. A couple of points though: first, it was not any kind of quantitative analysis - there is no new data in there, no new modelling, no new comparisons. It is predominantly an assessment of the evidence (though Anthes et al make good points that it was a partial assessment). I think Trenberth's opinion that it wasn't worth citing in Ch 3 (which was all about the data) is correct. I note that it was cited in Chapter 9 (as a reference for trends in TC activity), but it isn't obvious why it is there either - I would have expected a link to the primary publications on the trends. It was also cited in WGII which seems more appropriate since the had some focus on impacts. Overall, there isn't a huge discrepancy between what IPCC concluded and what RP Jr et al concluded, so I don't see this as some huge issue. Indeed, RP Jr even stated that the IPCC AR4 report 'got it right' and 'kudos to the scientists involved' (I guess he forgot to include an exception for Trenberth!). Tempest in a tropical teacup. - gavin]

    Comment by Toby — 23 Nov 2011 @ 5:56 PM

  142. 130 Mike Lewis

    Suuppp!! Arrogance & idiocy. These are the scientific qualities that the deniers employ to frame an argument in scientific debates and discussions. If the mentioned raw data are faulty go ahead ML and produce your own correct data. Go ahead and publish, if you have ever experienced peer-review. Until then, sleep with your gun under your pillow and dream of conspiracies.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 23 Nov 2011 @ 5:58 PM

  143. Turbolocke–yeah, I think France (a signatory) achieved the highest CO2 reductions. The US (a non-signatory) achieved the second highest reductions. Kinda tells you all you need to know about Kyoto’s effectiveness, doesn’t it?

    [Response: Cite? I think that Russia, Germany and the UK have had the biggest reductions over 1990 levels, but I can't find an up-to-date reference for this, anyone? - gavin]

    Comment by Occupied Territory — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:11 PM

  144. #50

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zORv8wwiadQ

    It is NOT your right to steal from future generations.

    Comment by Maya — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:19 PM

  145. > Mike Lewis
    http://berkeleyearth.org/FAQ.php#explain_testimony

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:38 PM

  146. Fortunately this second release of stolen material seems to have flopped completely.

    Comment by calyptorhynchus — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:45 PM

  147. GSW said: “It does sound rather conspiratorial”.

    Does it really? Perhaps that’s because conspiracies are your hobby?

    GSW said: “Didn’t Acton, on Jones behalf, assure the Muir Russell that no emails had been deleted”?

    Including regular spam? I find that hard to believe at face value. Perhaps you have the actual quote you’re thinking of so that we can all see.

    GSW said: “why does Jones keep going on about deleting stuff under FOI(?)”?

    In your own quote, Jone’s qualifier ‘that have any bearing on’ may be a clue for you.

    Comment by chek — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:47 PM

  148. Mike Lewis:

    The models fail to account for all known factors and their predictive value have been shown to be lacking. Results cannot be duplicated because the methods haven’t been shared.

    In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here’s a link to the source code to NASA GISS Model E, turkey.

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Nov 2011 @ 6:56 PM

  149. Mike Lewis I call bullshit on your unsupported opinion unless you provide evidence. If you don’t understand the raw data you’ve been pointed towards, or the corrections that get made to it, you’re hardly in a position to claim that the scientists are nefariously manipulating the data.

    If you know the first thing about science, you’ll realise that the independent replications of the key results demolishes your position.

    To the guys at RC, thankyou for your patience and all your excellent hard work, and Happy Thanksgiving (it’s Thursday here)!

    [Response: Thanks! Andy happy Thanksgiving to you. --eric]

    Comment by skywatcher — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:01 PM

  150. Jeff Short, If you are an ecologist, then my ass chews gum. Dude, do you really think you are going to see significant genetic changes over a period of 200 years in anything more complicated than a fruit fly?

    As to your other allegations. I’m sure Gavin would love to collaborate with any scientist who sincerely wanted to lend a hand–but first those scientists would have to be able to contribute rather than requiring babysitting. There is a reason why a scientist studies his or her metier for a decade or so before even assuming a postdoc position–as you would know were you actually a scientist.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:25 PM

  151. Mike Lewis, AGW is not a hypothesis, but rather a prediction of a very successful model of Earth’s climate. The 40 years of warming we’ve seen constitute evidence for that model. How do you hope to understand the science when you don’t even know what the theories are?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:27 PM

  152. timg56 at 50 says:

    Does having doubts about 40 to 50 ft rises in sea level, the spread of tropical diseases, increasing numbers and intensities of storms and host of other claims of catastrophy qualify me as a “fake” sceptic?

    I have doubts about these as well. I also agree that ‘the survival of the next generation’ is not seriously at risk. However there quality of life is.

    I have no problems holding sensible conversations with most AGW supporters, and am usually attacked as an alarmist when I try to discuss with ‘skeptics’

    I agree 100% with what Tamino posted about ‘fake skeptics’. And point out that nowhere did Tamino say anything about 40-50 ft rises in sea level or any of the other stuff.

    Comment by Michael Hauber — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:35 PM

  153. In reply to comment #46
    tamino says:
    22 Nov 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Fake skeptics like Anthony Watts try to blame global warming on bad station siting. Turns out he was wrong.

    Your comment is not accurate. You create a strawman argument that the only skeptic issue is the station siting and the urban heat effect.

    The central question the skeptics discuss is the data and analysis that indicates how much warming will occur. i.e. Does the data support the assertion the future warming due to an increase in CO2 will be extreme or benign.

    The skeptics discuss and are concerned with the lack of warming for the last ten years. The cooling of the ocean. For example.

    An important skeptic issue is whether the planetary response to a change in forcing is to amplify the change (positive feedback) or to resist the change (negative feedback, say planetary clouds increase to resist an increase in forcing).

    The skeptics are also interested in the how the solar changes affect planetary temperature.

    The Wattsup blog posted papers that are both pro and con concerning the AWG. There is discuss of satellite temperature data and ocean temperature data.

    The skeptics issue is the magnitude of the warming.

    Comment by Saul — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:36 PM

  154. “I think that Russia, Germany and the UK have had the biggest reductions over 1990 levels, but I can’t find an up-to-date reference for this, anyone? – gavin]”

    I found this the other day, from Sep 2011, which might be what you’re looking for:

    Long-Term Trend in Global CO2 Emissions, 2011 Report. JRC European Commission. (PDF)

    Comment by J Bowers — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:44 PM

  155. > CO2 reductions

    This isn’t exactly the requested list, but may have used that data or cite it:
    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-04-nation-reduction-co2-outpaced-country.html

    Growth in emission transfers via international trade from 1990 to 2008, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Published online before print April 25, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1006388108
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1006388108

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:47 PM

  156. 114 Rob Honeycutt,

    RE your first paragraph – I agree. Which is why I happen to believe that spending billions of dollars providing those born in poor nations with access to abundant, cheap energy, clean water and education is a better policy than artifically driving up the cost of energy in the richer nations. Isn’t this what China and India are doing? Increasing their energy production to increase overall economic production.

    RE second paragraph – I will. But first I have to grind through the link Dr Schmidt provided. 90 some reports.

    RE third paragraph – Again I agree with the statement “The financial impacts of extreme weather events are not insignificant.” The question is how does climate change relate to extreme weather conditions. Irene was the first hurricane to hit the US in 6 years. A couple of USGS scientists just published a paper showing no increase in severity or occurance for floods in the US. As we are regularly told, weather is not climate and as yet there is no link to increased severe weather events from climate change. I however am not willing to agree to your second statement – “the solutions are ones that actually generate positive domestic economic activity.” Politicians like making that claim. I’m sure farmers and agrobusiness companies may agree when it comes to biofuels. I doubt the people looking for jobs on the Keystone pipeline project think that. And I think it a good idea to see what happens over the next 3 – 5 years in Australia and California.

    RE your last paragraph – now I can completely disagree. I am not the one afraid and don’t see how you reach that conclusion. In fact I am pretty positive about the future. If my fuel bills and transportation costs double, I can afford it. Probably better than a lot of people. I think I’d be more worried about the people whose income might benefit from the other ways in which I could be spending that money. I am also not angry. I am not the one here who has called people names – I’m brainless you know – or being angry and afraid and uncaring of future generations among other comments directed my way. And I am not pawning anything off on scientists. You claim I’m angry at attempts to solve what is clearly “very likely” to be a serious problem for humanity. How can I get angry at something that is neither clearly a problem nor yet shown to be very likely? At 2C warmer – I think you’ll have a hard time proving a serious threat to humanity. At 4 – 5C, ok, the odds of you being right go up. However the odds of reaching that are a lot less certain.

    PS – I appreaciate the more even tone of your and cynicus comments as compared to others.

    Comment by timg56 — 23 Nov 2011 @ 7:55 PM

  157. People who want a serious look at the economics of climate change might try Nordhaus’s The Challenge of Global Warming: Economic Models and Environmental Policy, link. Nordhaus is a well-respected economist and an extensive bibliography is included. Beware: it is a 253-page PDF, and I must admit not read most of it: I am going on Nordhaus’ excellent reputation. A quick look at Nordhaus’s CV and publications reveals that he has been working on environmental economics for over three decades.

    As to the provenance of these e-mails, I think it is likely that some Murdoch-connected organization broke into the CRU’s servers: they had motivation, ability, and a history of similar criminal acts. The on-going investigation into the astonishing number of break-ins those organizations have conducted may eventually turn up evidence of this.

    Comment by The Raven — 23 Nov 2011 @ 8:10 PM

  158. This is indeed great outreach. I think what jryan wants is for that also to mean that the science contained therein is tainted and anyone’s opinion is just as valid. It isn’t and RC is tantamount in showing why.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 23 Nov 2011 @ 8:34 PM

  159. With regard to comments about climate models being “wrong”, It’s my opinion that they are just not particularly useful for the purpose of fomenting public policy.

    The example given of aerodynamic models is not a valid comparison. Aerodynamic models are testable, as many aircraft flying today prove. Wing designs are not typically tested with a commercial flight full of passengers.

    Another poor argument, in my opinion, is one where trust in “the science” is likened to trusting your doctor. Medical procedures are carefully tested in a controlled environment. They are not released to the public to be tested. If they were, many deaths would occur.

    Climate models cannot be tested in a timescale which is useful for human purposes. The propose cure of reducing CO2 emissions could just as easily be harmful if it were to prevent a resistance to an impending ice age caused by nature.

    OT perhaps, but notable is the fact that our forefathers burdened us with a Social Security System which has turned out to be a Ponzi Scheme. Their intentions were surely good, and I don’t blame them for not realizing that the pool of workers would not continue to grow in support of the system. I do hope that we can do something to relieve our children of that particular burden. I expect objection from those currently collecting or soon to be collecting these benefits. Where I come from, folks abhor the thought of being a burden on their children. Today we give it no second thought it seems.

    I call into question those who would claim that we must “do something for our grandchildren”. Perhaps the most responsible thing we can do is to attempt to lessen the already high financial burden that we have accumulated for them to bear.

    We have no right to decide their future.

    Comment by David Wright — 23 Nov 2011 @ 9:09 PM

  160. Gavin: You wrote earlier that Jones was correct in saying that ALL models are wrong (I can’t locate the post – was it erased ?). Can you please provide peer-reviewed evidence by the Team supporting your opinion ?

    [Response: Can you please provide some justification for using the phrase "The Team"? Who are these people? I've never heard of them.--eric]

    Comment by François GM — 23 Nov 2011 @ 9:15 PM

  161. Re 160. Gavin is right. Models are always wrong. Heck, even the standard model of modern physics matches observation only to 10 parts in a billion. We all know that Newtonian physics is “wrong” but we use it all the time.

    The proper question is not, “Are the models wrong?” but rather “In what ways are they wrong?” and “How can they be improved?”

    Observer

    Comment by observer — 23 Nov 2011 @ 9:55 PM

  162. Francois GM,

    That is rather axiomatic isn’t it? All models are approximations of reality, and as such they are wrong. Nothing surprising there.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 23 Nov 2011 @ 10:03 PM

  163. Timg56 and Geronimo,
    First, I don’t think that anyone here is of the opinion that climate change is the only problem we face. It exacerbates a range of problems that threaten the viability of a complex global civilization.

    By around midcentury, we anticipate that global population will crest somewhere around 10 billion people. This will occur on a planet where we are already having difficulty–and indeed doing irreversible harm to the carrying capacity of the planet–trying to support just 7 billion at present. Moreover, these people will have higher expectations and will likely consume at a higher level than current populations.

    To further compound the difficulty, fossil fuels will likely be becoming scarce and expensive. Climate change–due to drought and the general downward trend of crop yields with temperature–will be decreasing productivity. Other resources are also likely to be scarce.

    How do you expect our progeny to react to increasing scarcity, insecurity and threats from other nations reacting to the same trends?

    We would have to confront all of these threats in any case. Climate change just makes things much more difficult.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Nov 2011 @ 10:16 PM

  164. Of course given the evidence the so-called public IS stupid, although not designated from the scientific community. They need t get a grip on scientific reality first. Let’s start there.

    Comment by Mark A. York — 23 Nov 2011 @ 11:35 PM

  165. For Francois GM: https://www.google.com/search?q=ALL+models+are+wrong

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Nov 2011 @ 11:50 PM

  166. David Wright

    The example given of aerodynamic models is not a valid comparison. Aerodynamic models are testable, as many aircraft flying today prove. Wing designs are not typically tested with a commercial flight full of passengers.

    No, but the 787 design was tested with a flight crew flying the exact 787 that’s being sold today, with that crew being trained on a simulator …

    STOP THE PRESSES! A SIMULATOR IS A MODEL!

    based on model results of the design, and said airplane performed as expected from both model results in engineering, and as expected from the separate model results used to build the simulator (though as someone with 40 years of software engineering experience, I’m sure they shared a lot of code).

    There is, of course, another problem with your statement:

    The world is flying regardless of whatever model we use to think about the future.

    Your willingness on rejecting science means that you believe that *YOUR* model, which isn’t of course a real mathematical one but rather a prejudicial model based on your gut or “lower male appendage”, is the right one.

    You want society to fly based on your gut, not science, because, you know, comparing science-based models isn’t fair, and fairy-based models … are, apparently?

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Nov 2011 @ 11:53 PM

  167. Ray:

    First, I don’t think that anyone here is of the opinion that climate change is the only problem we face.

    Be stronger, Ray … we don’t believe in the false dichotomy because … well … it’s false.

    Society is doing little to solve the problems that false dichotomists claim we’d only solve if we weren’t worried about climate change. If we don’t tackle climate change, a certain economic class of people will just pocket the profit. There’s no reason to run away from this economic reality.

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Nov 2011 @ 11:57 PM

  168. François GM

    Gavin: You wrote earlier that Jones was correct in saying that ALL models are wrong

    Name a model that’s not wrong.

    Be precise. It’s going to involve equations, that’s for sure, so hopefully you’ve had calculus, at least.

    Comment by dhogaza — 23 Nov 2011 @ 11:59 PM

  169. Talking about burdens to the future generations. If it was private enterprise pushing for move away from CO2 intensive industry, you would be fine with it. But understanding that this magnitude of change requires the act of government..well that is the issue huh?

    Predictions made so far by climate models and scientific intuition are coming true and since as said the timescales involved are significant I would expect a true skeptic to require and promote significant study and research of all aspects of climate change. Instead having no scientific basis the proclamation that the risks are low are universal by the so called skeptics. Instead of wanting to improve our understanding they focus on minute discrepancies elevating them to gaping holes and conspiracies.

    And saying that aerodynamics provide for a testable hypothesis, completely ignores the fact of the hundreds of accidents caused by lack of understanding that also contributed to today’s understanding of flying machines. Sorry but we only have one planet and such “tests” are impossible.

    What is the problem with reducing the world’s CO2 intensity anyway? Do renewables sound like a bad policy?

    Comment by DrTskoul — 24 Nov 2011 @ 12:02 AM

  170. Jeff Short @102 said,

    When I have raised these issues I have been heavily berated by many peers who are in the Climate Change industry in an antagonistic fashion, however most of my peers in Science and Ecology tend to support my position.

    Ray already called you on this, but I’m going to as well–I doubt very much you’re an ecologist. I am trained as an ecologist and now work as a wildlife biologist/ecologist–I worked and published with Charlie Krebs (one of the giants of the field) over a 5 year period. I’m in touch with a whole network of ecologists around the world. I rub shoulders with other well known publishing ecologists regularly, as well as various science folks at three different universities.

    And not a single one of them has expressed a doubt about the validity of AGW, and it has been on the radar of ecologists since the mid to late 90s, if not earlier.

    Granted, you may actually be an ecologist, and your peers may agree with you, but I’m finding that a real stretch (argument from incredulity–I know, a logical fallacy, which is why I may be wrong in my assessment–but “most” of your peers tend to support your position?? You’d think I’d at least have heard about one considering my sample size).

    do you really think you are going to see significant genetic changes over a period of 200 years in anything more complicated than a fruit fly?

    O/T here, but FYI. Lizards came up with some unique changes in less than 40 years, including cecal valves.
    news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080421-lizard-evolution.html

    Comment by Daniel J. Andrews — 24 Nov 2011 @ 12:30 AM

  171. Gavin – To my mind, there is more to’Climategate2′ than you admit. The scientists involved are clearly partisan and not following proper scientific process. For example, their repeated reference to ‘the cause’. Sure, you can dismiss it as the scientists being ‘somewhat freer in expressing themselves than they would in a public statement’, as you did 2 years ago, and of course you are free to adhere to that view.

    But some of us regard it more seriously, because statements such as these do suggest improper practice. At the very very least I would expect such an attitude to lead to confirmation bias in their work. I would therefore suggest that their work should properly be regarded with a vastly greater degree of caution than has been shown by yourself and many others on RC. Compare the climate scientists’ attitude to, for example, the ‘faster than light’ team at CERN.

    [Response: 'suggest' 'expect' etc. are reflective of your own prior beliefs about what the scientists have come up with. But the contents of these emails go completely against you assumptions - you have many people (all of whom are supposedly on some team), criticising each other's work is pretty harsh terms where they think standards are not high or uncertainties too great. And I'm not sure where you get the idea where I and other on RC have not been cautious enough on uncertain parts of the science - perhaps you'd like to find some example of irresponsible over-confidence on the site? As for the 'faster than light' team at Gran Sasso (not CERN), most people in that field are pretty sure that this will go away after everything is checked (for multiple reasons - not because of mainstream 'dogma'). But the analogy is not to the mainstream in climate science, but those who propose that climate change is happening because of the conjunctions of Juptier and Saturn, or that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas, or there hasn't been any warming, or that humans are not affecting the composition of the atmosphere. As stated above, the cause is for a higher level of conversation - one rooted in what the science is really saying, and where the real uncertainties are - instead of these manufactured controversies and overblown conspiracy theories. - gavin]

    Comment by Mike Jonas — 24 Nov 2011 @ 12:37 AM

  172. I thought that 2 year old turkey would be dry. I was wrong…. Best humor around.

    Must be your servers are more secure this year.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Nov 2011 @ 12:57 AM

  173. Charlie Z @99 said,

    This really comes down to the belief that stupid people like me can’t possibly understand the intricacy of your scientific investigations.

    Actually even if you’re quite smart and have a solid science education, you still probably can’t understand the intricacies of scientific investigations outside your own field. Most of the articles and letters in the journal Nature go way over my head. Best I can do is read the abstract, read the first few paragraphs, then jump to the end. Some times I can’t even do that. But each bit I do understand helps for the next relevant article.

    Still the slow going is frustrating (feel inadequate at times), but unless I want to obtain several advanced degrees, or spend years studying several separate fields, I will never understand the intricacies–hell, I may never grasp the basics–of specialized fields (I’m looking at you quantum computing).

    By no means though does it mean you’re stupid. I’m sorry you have received that impression. You, and most people including scientists, simply don’t have the time to put in a decade of work or more to become acquainted with the intricacies of fields that aren’t their bread and butter.

    It isn’t being stupid, it is not having the time.

    Comment by Daniel J. Andrews — 24 Nov 2011 @ 12:59 AM

  174. Saul #153:
    Really, did Tamino create a strawman?

    Try reading the report D’Aleo and Watts wrote and published by SPPI “surface temperature record: policy-driven deception?”

    Choice quote from that report:
    “Instrumental temperature data for the pre-satellite era (1850-1980) have been so widely, systematically, and uni-directionally tampered with that it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant “global warming” in the 20th century.”

    Oh, and do read the rest of that “summary for policymakers”.

    Comment by Marco — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:00 AM

  175. “models are all wrong (but the question is whether they are useful”)

    Wording only slightly different removes a stumbling block for those so blind they will not see:

    “all models are wrong (but the question is…)”

    All models are wrong but none of the models are all (i.e., 100%) wrong.

    Comment by Shelama — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:18 AM

  176. #156 timG56


    I am not the one here who has called people names – I’m brainless you know –

    1/2 second’s silence that You have been hurt so bad.
    But after your announcment to “go for the ass” of those
    who’s predictions are wrong I am
    inclined to agree

    Marcus

    Comment by Marcus — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:47 AM

  177. Bart #97

    “Gavin’s RC figure mentioned in 80 is very similar to a figure made and posted by Lucia at the Blackboard (sorry, don’t know which post so can’t link; I saved it on my harddisk). She graphed individual model runs though instead of the 95% envelope of model estimates. Would be interesting to see if those who are claiming that Gavins’ figure is misleading would claim the same of Lucia’s.”

    Bart it was here http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/surface-temperatures-cooler-than-multi-model-mean/

    specifically http://rankexploits.com/musings/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/MichaelHauberRequest.png

    I don’t think Gavin’s plot was misleading but when you look at the individual runs by model the spread looks as if it partly caused by “weather noise”, internal variability within the models and partly by different models having different trends and different internal variabilities

    Comment by PeteB — 24 Nov 2011 @ 2:07 AM

  178. Is this a site devoted to science or PR? Evidently some of the scientists that are key in the global warming “cause” as they call it believe this site is a PR site. If this site is about science, then why do you try to downplay anything that appears to refute the “cause?”

    [Response: Our 'cause' is for good science and accurate information to triumph over fear, uncertainty and doubt. We downplay nonsense, we downplay mis-information, and we try and promote clarity, context and what scientists are actually saying instead of playing up to absurd conspiracy theories, wishful thinking and hysteria. No apologies for that. - gavin]

    Comment by Gary Hemminger — 24 Nov 2011 @ 2:32 AM

  179. I’d like to comment that as the dates have been altered, there’s also a suspicion that other words might be too, so if you want conspiracy theories there’s one. The hosts here may bin this one if you think this is too much for this science site. I’m somewhat bored and might next go adding to their paranoia on some other site, for doing this here is too tasteless.

    Comment by jyyh — 24 Nov 2011 @ 2:47 AM

  180. John Fitzgerald #129

    “What I am pretty sure of is that, what ever the world should eventually look like, it’s not going to look better because people spread dis-information. And knowing the truth, isn’t going to make it worse.”

    That’s what I tell my dog, anyways.

    Your dog would like to tweet that out in the big world, your philosophy is known as ‘the cause’…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 24 Nov 2011 @ 3:01 AM

  181. Geoff Short — “…you’re surely making a good buck out of it now so it is of course always going to be in your interests to maintain “the cause”.

    Download and have a read (PDF), Geoff.

    More info on the organisation, and the guy who got over $300,000 from them that year.

    Comment by J Bowers — 24 Nov 2011 @ 3:35 AM

  182. The UNEP site has data galore on emissions, trends etc. It can be a bit daunting and the search tool could be improved. See
    http://geodata.grid.unep.ch/ .
    Many others provide emissions data, broken down by type, nation, region etc. Datamarket has a nice interface, but not the most complete database (see http://data.is/vEKmd5 , and read #143 again)

    Comment by Halldór Björnsson — 24 Nov 2011 @ 3:50 AM

  183. All the focus from Susan Solomon, Jonathan Overpeck, and others on getting Wahl and Ammann published in time. Why was it so crucial to have a critique of Steve McIntyre in the IPCC report? And also, the comments critiquing McIntyre came from one of the authors of this critiquing paper. Is this the reason for the confidentiality?

    [Response: I'm sure that Susan Solomon had far more pressures on her plate at the time than worrying solely about the publication schedule of W&A (2006). Despite what McIntyre might think, this wasn't crucial at all, and had the single line been left as it was in the second-order draft nothing very much would have been different at all. Rather, the report would have been less accurate since W&A definitely did show that the PCA convention highlighted by McIntyre did not have a big impact on the final reconstruction. But even that is not terribly important compared to the fact that other reconstructions (Moberg et al, Osborn and Briffa etc.) came up with the same big picture changes. The obsession with this single line in the report is absurd. - gavin]

    Comment by Lorax — 24 Nov 2011 @ 3:54 AM

  184. François GM — “Gavin: You wrote earlier that Jones was correct in saying that ALL models are wrong”

    Science itself is probabilistic.

    “Doc, will the antibiotic get rid of the infection?”
    “Well, It’s likely.”

    IIRC, Stephen Hawking said that all scientific theories themselves are models at their basest level. If all models are wrong, as in they are never 100% right, what would that say about all scientific theories?

    Myth 5: Science and its Methods Provide Absolute Proof

    Comment by J Bowers — 24 Nov 2011 @ 4:09 AM

  185. The Denial Movement

    I’ve got denial constipation
    Can’t get this train to leave the station
    Not a plausible fact in creation
    But how to spread it across the nation?
    With only insinuation and allegation?
    Only accusation and defamation?
    Ah, better call for an investigation

    Comment by KiwiCM — 24 Nov 2011 @ 4:32 AM

  186. Timg56: In #112, you state, “And if you care about those people, then you will realize that perhaps the best means to improve their lives is by providing access to inexpensive energy.”

    The problem is that most Americans have no idea of the true cost of the energy they use, because the true cost is not usually reflected in the price paid for that energy. First, carbon-based energy is heavily subsidized at all levels by the government. Second, the cost of these fuels usually does not even begin to factor in the damage to the environment that extracting, refining, and burning these fuels creates (oil spills, coal ash spills, atmospheric ozone, soot, environmental damage at extraction sites, water and air pollution produced during the mining and refining processes, etc.).

    And then, of course, there is the damage that the release of CO2 is doing to our climate. Despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, you appear to underestimate the full cost of that damage. If you deny that, then it becomes impossible to determine the true cost of carbon-based fuels. Your logic becomes circular, and the people you care about will be harmed.

    This summer in central Texas was the hottest summer ever measured in North America (80+ days over 100ºF, highest temperature was 112ºF). On many evenings, the temperature did not get below 90ºF until after 11PM. We are also in the worst 1-year drought ever measured in Texas, and that continues. We are currently living with stage 2 water restrictions. We had a number of wildfires close to me, one of which burned over 50 square miles, including a beautiful state park and over 1,200 homes.

    Are these the affects of anthropogenic global climate change? It is likely they are. And even if they aren’t, these are what the affects of AGCC will look like. Needless to say, I don’t share your optimistic view about the world’s future if we don’t reduce our release of greenhouse gasses very soon. From where I am sitting, the risks are just too great to not take strong action now.

    Yes, I’m for inexpensive energy, but I also care about a clean and healthy environment. So don’t try to sell me a pig in a poke, because I’m not buying it. Speaking of poke, despite their best efforts, the “skeptics” have not been able to poke holes in the science. Instead, they go after the scientists personally through the quoting out of context of stolen private emails. Nice.

    Comment by Craig Nazor — 24 Nov 2011 @ 5:11 AM

  187. I have read many of the posts and comments on WUWT and I have read the post and comments here with respect to the latest “release” of, what are being dubbed, “Climategate 2.0” emails.

    When I read WUWT comments I am left thinking that they seem to be making valid points – when I read RC comments on the same topic I am left floundering.

    In essence, as a layman, I am left trying to judge the quality of each sides arguments – and it is impossible for me to draw a conclusion on certain specifics.

    In short, it appears to me that the main thrust of the “WUWT” argument is that the “consensus” often only exists because contrariwise points of view were suppressed and/or ignored.

    As an example, the work, methodology and logic that went into the “Hockey Stick” graph is questioned – if not ridiculed – by the WUWT camp. They cite quotes from people within the “team” that appear to also question the validity and methodology.

    To cut through this, can you tell me if the Hockey Stick graph is still accepted (by the contributors to RealClimate) as being a fair representation of the scientific consensus?

    [Response: The original MBH graph was made in 1998 - some 13 years ago. At the time it was a ground-breaking work in that it used multiple proxies to come up with approximations not just to the mean temperature changes through time, but also the spatial patterns. Subsequent work has tried different approaches, used more data, checked methods against 'pseudo-proxy' networks derived from climate models, fixed errors etc., but all of those papers don't really come up with reconstructions that are radically different (see here for instance). So the original work is no longer state of the art, but the big picture conclusion - that current temperatures and rates of temperature rise are unusual, and likely unprecedented in the last 1000 years or so, is still supported. MBH was not perfect, but it wasn't faked. - gavin]

    With respect to extreme weather events, the WUWT position is that there is no evidence of recent increases in extreme weather events such as Hurricanes and Typhoons at all – let alone as a result of AGW. What is the scientific consensus position?

    [Response: "Extreme events" aren't just one thing. The factors controlling hurricane intensity, or cyclone number, or a heat wave, or a drought or a cold snap, or a flood are all different and may well be different again depending on where you are (see here for a discussion). For some extremes, there is good evidence that they have been changing, and support from models for a link to global warming (heat waves, rainfall intensity are both up, cold snaps are down), while for others the data is ambiguous and model support less strong (impacts on hurricanes or tornadoes say). For some effects, the expected change to date is too small to definitely come out of the noise, even if the impact would be larger and more significant in the future (for instance changes in hurricane intensity). New work in the fractional attribution of single events (like the Texas drought, European heat wave in 2003, Moscow heat wave in 2010 etc.) shows some promise, and is indicating that the odds of such extremes are shifting in predictable ways - but this is still cutting edge science. - gavin]

    Comment by Chris — 24 Nov 2011 @ 5:14 AM

  188. Erm. What’s with the models hang up.

    Let’s suppose that all the models are indeed not only wrong, but also not useful.

    Where would that leave climate science?

    Exactly where it is. Climate sensitivity can be calculate from models, but also from observations, and my impression is that the observational data is now stronger than the model data. See Knutti and Hergl (2008) (as usual), although there has been a lot more work since that. (e.g. Hansen & Sato 2011, Padilla et al 2011.)

    Comment by Kevin C — 24 Nov 2011 @ 5:54 AM

  189. David Wright @ 159, welcome to the conversation. May I clear up a couple things? First, climate models are tested all the time and in great detail. They are very useful for human purposes. In particular they are a great aid (along with much more, climate science is quite extensive) in understanding the physics of energy transfer in our atmosphere and oceans. You note that reducing CO2 emissions could be harmful if led to an ice age. Well yes, and it could be harmful it it caused the Martians to invade. One example of the human usefulness of climate models is that we understand climate and climate change far too well to be lost in wondering if reducing emissions would cause an ice age. It won’t. But a very large change in energy sources would avoid very harmful future climate change and has other advantages as well. Then you get into another misunderstood subject that is off topic here. But David, try to become aware of the strangeness of your final statement.

    Regarding our grandchildren (actually, all of humanity who will be living on earth in the coming decades) you say

    “We have no right to decide their future.”

    David, we are deciding and determining what sort of world people will inhabit in the not too distant future. We do this in many ways including making war and changing our planet’s climate. We also do it by sitting home and not bothering to take positive action.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 Nov 2011 @ 6:47 AM

  190. Turbolocke and Gavin–relative to my #143 post, I stand corrected. I recall reading two or 3 years ago that the US’s CO2 reductions were 2nd only to one other country, but I cannot find that reference. Here’s what I did find: http://www.pbl.nl/en/dossiers/climatechange/faqs#vraag9

    The US’s CO2 emissions are down per capita, but in line w/ other developed countries, and better than several other developing countries’ reductions.

    Comment by Occupied Territory — 24 Nov 2011 @ 6:54 AM

  191. I think that one of the problems on the denialist side is that they don’t know how to use models. Models are not there to give answers but to provide insight. If they are sufficiently detailed to do that, they are good models for their purpose. If we start asking more detailed questions, we require a better model.

    GCMs are more than sufficient to predict trends we will see over the long haul, and therefore as a guide for policy. If you wanted to assess the efficacy and safety of a geoengineering technique (e.g. sulfate aerosols in the stratosphere), I’d want a MUCH better model.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Nov 2011 @ 7:13 AM

  192. “We have no right to decide their future.”

    That sounds awfully like some aristocratic wastrel waving airily at the crumbling plaster, leaking roof and smelly plumbing of the family castle and saying we wouldn’t want to spend money on that stuff. The young ones might want the money for something else.

    Well, the young ones might like to inherit something that’s worth real money if they choose to sell it or want to use it for a business.

    Same goes for the planet at large – except it’s the only biosphere we’ve got. We don’t have the option of selling up (for any price) and moving elsewhere.

    Comment by adelady — 24 Nov 2011 @ 7:38 AM

  193. David @ 159 again, your first statement is worth a look. You say climate models are a sufficient basis for policy choices. This is right. Science can tell us “if you do X, Y will happen.” Deciding what we ought to do is another step after having the scientific information. Science can’t make you care. However, climate science is far more than models and provides much more basis for policy than just the models. (Most people mean the global air and ocean circulation models when they use that term.) Consider a couple items to begin to get the idea. A relatively simple problem (chemistry, not circulation model related) is that the oceans are becoming more acid and this will continue as long as we increase the concentration of CO2 in the air. This will harm ocean ecosystems (and note, some people value much more than their couches) and it will also reduce human food supply. The Arctic is warming faster than the average of the planet. This was predicted as early as 1896. However it is happening even more and faster than predicted either then or by most climate models. There is very extensive data on this. In addition to civilian studies, the Navies of the USA and Russia are very interested. The US Navy is not pleased with what is happening. This illustrates 1) there is much more to climate science than models & 2) intensive empirical study is a better guide than the models on particular regions. David, this brings us to a broad problem: people want to know what climate changes to expect in their own area, and in the near future. The global models do well on the global picture and the trends over more than one decade, but this is not the question that many people want answered. Nevertheless it is globally clear that people will be better off if we stop burning carbon and use other energy sources. The big reason to delay this change is to maintain current cash flows rather than allowing new ones. Again,

    Science can’t make you care.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 Nov 2011 @ 7:55 AM

  194. A quick look says to me… ho hum, nothing of interest.

    Comment by Ricki — 24 Nov 2011 @ 7:56 AM

  195. “Can you please provide some justification for using the phrase “The Team”? Who are these people? I’ve never heard of them.–eric”

    That’s a good question. The history here is, of course, interesting. Steven McIntyre coined the term, as presently applied, here.

    Later on, he attempts to blame Real Climate for the term.

    When given due diligence, that any auditor should apply, it turns out to be a nice rhetorical trick.

    The thread he links says something quite a bit different.

    The validity of the so-called “Hockey Stick” can, of course, neither rest on the strength of MBH98, nor any one reconstruction or model simulation result alone. Rather, as demonstrated in IPCC(2001) [see this comparison here] and numerous additional studies since, it is what is perhaps more aptly termed the “Hockey Team”–that is, the multiple independent reconstructions and model simulations that now indicate essentially the same pattern of hemispheric mean temperature variation in past centuries, that support a “Hockey Stick” description of past temperature changes.

    The term “Team” was about a group of papers, not people, as McIntyre has repeated it.

    I guess another good question should be, ‘Why would re-creating the meaning of such a term be useful for an auditor?’ The answer may be plagiarized in the Wegman report.

    Comment by grypo — 24 Nov 2011 @ 8:01 AM

  196. Re: Jeff Short.

    I can assure people that Jeff is an ecologist (see here for a link to his past research: http://www.wildliferesearchmanagement.com.au/past_research.htm )

    However it seems he is broadly ignorant of the vast swathe of ecological literature on the response of species to climate change.

    Some names for Jeff & others the Google (Scholar):

    Camille Parmesan
    Marcel Visser
    Tim Sparks
    Stephen Thackeray
    David Roy
    C M Mutshinda
    Jane Memmott
    Rosa Menendez
    Rolf Ims
    Cristiaan Both

    The list goes on but for Jeff to claim that “most of [his] peers in Science and Ecology tend to support [his] position” (that there are evolutionary traits in animals and plants throughout the world which demonstrate that there has been no increase in climate variability) speaks more of Jeff’s peer group than the view of most ecologists.

    Comment by Chris S. — 24 Nov 2011 @ 8:26 AM

  197. Models are not there to give answers but to provide insight.

    This is silly. The models are not being used only to provide insight (explain the past) but drive policy (make forecasts)

    [Response: Model forecasts are all you have. Would you prefer observations? "Unfortunately, observations of the future are not available at this time." (Knutson and Tuleya, 2005). Nonetheless, you greatly overstate the degree to which policy follows from the specifics of any model. - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 24 Nov 2011 @ 8:34 AM

  198. Phil Jones responds to some of the cherry picked quotes:

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/rebuttalsandcorrections/phrasesexplained

    One in particular represents a particularly egregious bit of quote-mining by the publishers of the stolen emails.

    Comment by SteveF — 24 Nov 2011 @ 8:45 AM

  199. re 186 thank you – although I am not sure that I am any the wiser!

    Comment by Chris — 24 Nov 2011 @ 8:46 AM

  200. To follow on grypo’s audit, I note that Eric already dissociated himself from any Team:

    > I’m not on “The Team”.

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/11395920629

    This was vintage 2006.

    I believe the proper term should be the Kyoto Flames:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/about-the-kyoto-flames

    The Calgary Flames is an Hockey team, for the hockey-challenged people like Nick Stokes.

    Anyone who would like some help to take into consideration bender’s advice to “read the blog”, CA that is, can contact me via my tumblog.

    Comment by willard — 24 Nov 2011 @ 8:52 AM

  201. David @ 159, a treat. Arctic climatology is a great example of climate science being much more than general circulation models, and a lot of Arctic data is readily visualized once you get used to it. David, I present the Arctic Graphs Page.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 Nov 2011 @ 9:07 AM

  202. Associated to the release of these emails has been the imposition of stricter ideological censorship at sites like Watt’s Up With That (WUWT). Here’s an example of the kind of post that now receives instant censorship from WUWT’s moderators:

    “Science and skepticism equally serve humanity best when the most rational forms of skepticism are directed against the strongest scientific evidence.”

    Mariss posts: I cannot make any sense of that quote. Is it a plea to stop examining weak and shoddy science like the AGW theory?

    Mariss, the answer to your question is given in one of the most personal, illuminating, and celebrated descriptions ever written of science as a creative process:

    Naturalist
    by Edward O Wilson

    Without a trace of irony I can say that I have been blessed with brilliant enemies. They made me suffer (after all, they were enemies), but I owe them a great debt, because they redoubled my energies and sent me in new directions. We need such people in our creative lives. As John Stuart Mill once put it, both teachers and learners fall asleep at their posts when there is no enemy in the field.

    The key point is, Mariss, that among the very best things that could happen to humanity in the 21st century would be for climate change scientists and skeptics to serve as each other’s “brilliant enemies.” — and this requires that the most rational forms of skepticism be directed against the strongest scientific evidence.

    If some of the posts and comments here on WUWT have beautifully exemplified the most rational forms of skepticism, it is regrettably true none-the-less that too many other WUWT posts and comments have focused narrowly upon those forms of skepticism that (in the long run) are the weakest and most useless : slogan-chanting, cherry-picking, and witch-hunting.

    The point of Ed Wilson’s celebrated essay is the paradoxical fact that in scientific debate, whenever one side weakens, both sides lose. That’s why we can all hope — skeptics and nonskeptics alike — that WUWT as a forum evolves to be far more effective in fostering solid science and brilliant skepticism.

    The bottom line is that hopes like Ed Wilson’s will not be fulfilled at skeptical sites like WUWT. Sadly for humanity, the moderators of these skeptical sites have missed their opportunity to commit their sites broadly to Wilsonian skeptical brilliance, and instead have publicly embraced a narrow brand of skepticism that does not merely encourage slogan-chanting, cherry-picking, and witch-hunting, but requires it.

    Is there a “war on science”? If sites like WUWT formerly waged a “cold war on science”, their strengthening censorship policies may be the opening salvos of a disastrous “hot war on science”.

    Comment by A physicist — 24 Nov 2011 @ 9:41 AM

  203. Number9,
    Thank you for your real-life illustration of my contention that denialists are ignorant of the proper use of scientific models.

    Models do not drive policy. The insights gleaned from models ought to, in an ideal world, drive policy. If you do not understand this distinction, then not only are you not qualified to make pronouncements on matters of science, I wouldn’t even want you managing my 401k.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Nov 2011 @ 9:43 AM

  204. Re My 186 and your comments.

    … for those of us trying to make sense of this, it is a shame that two “camps” appear to be so polarised and unyeilding towards each other.

    The WUWT and Climate Audit sites seem genuinely excited that there are some revelations, previously undisclosed concessions, confirmation of the righteousness of many of their “complaints” about certain points/issues in the past. An example would be the refusal to accept some analysis carried out by Mcintyre on the way a “Hockey Stick” graph would inevitably produce that shape because of the way that it is constructed (please do not assume that I know what I am talking about here!).

    Most RealClimate’s contributor’s comments are equally convinced that there is nothing of any import, nothing new and that, for instance, where the emails suggest (albeit out of context) disagreement on issues between scientists, that this is the normal to and fro of robust and evolving scientific debate – rather than evidence of a contrary view being suppressed.

    For what it is worth, whilst accepting that many of the email extracts are not in context (and maybe this is the point of the way that they have been released), to the likes of me, some of the extracts do read very badly.

    It would be hard to deny that one is left with a feeling that there is an “inner circle” that appears to have an unhealthy “control” of who and what gets published. That some scientists appear to be in a position to influence who reviews their work (maybe it twas ever thus) and encourage fast favourable reviews – whilst also using their influence to attempt to prevent other papers from being published.

    Alternatively, there are clearly some off the wall conspiracy theorists on WUWT that assume that if anyone from the RC side of the argument expresses a doubt about something or questions the work of another – then this is clear evidence of wrongdoing.

    … clear as mud!

    Comment by Chris — 24 Nov 2011 @ 9:46 AM

  205. From Jones’ clarrifications:

    Email 1577: “Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder…in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

    ‘Hidden’ refers here to some of the work on data collection and management. This is a common issue in some areas of climate research and refers to issues of an operational nature and research aspects. An obvious example is updating earlier data sets within a new project. Most funders are fully aware that this is common practice.

    The clarification is almost as confusing as the quote!
    I’m guessing, from my own grant experience, that he trying to say the following:
    “Grant funders generally only provide funding for original research. However, that original research cannot be performed without the long term curation and management of datasets. This falls outside the scope of the grants, and yet the grants cannot be fulfilled without it, and so the curation has to be performed by grant funded staff working outside the scope of their funding (i.e. the work is ‘hidden’).”
    If so, it’s a problem not confined to climate science.

    Comment by Kevin C — 24 Nov 2011 @ 9:49 AM

  206. Post 160: I should have been clearer. To me, “The Team” refers to those who select and display the “appropriate” science for “the cause”. But I digress.
    So, the climate models are ALL wrong (but useful), yet Santer et al in a 17 author paper around 2008 (I can provide the exact reference if you wish) defended the validity of models as evidence for AGW. And now in this very thread Gavin writes that models predict extreme events. How useful would a wrong prediction of extreme events be ? If so, useful for whom or for what?

    [Response: You are misinterpreting these statements. A model is *always* an imperfect rendering of reality. That is what is meant by the statement "all models are wrong". But models can still provide skillful forecasts. This is not contradictory because 'skillful' means better than the alternative methods of forecasting (i.e. assuming no change, or persistence) - it does not mean perfect. Imperfect hurricane models provide good forecasts of hurricane tracks all the time - and these are extremely useful for preventing loss of life. Your other statements are just strawmen - models are not 'evidence' for AGW, rather they provide explanations of the evidence gained from observations in ways that are very robust. How can you do attribution without a model of some sort? - gavin]

    Comment by François GM — 24 Nov 2011 @ 10:27 AM

  207. dhogaza # 165;
    “No, but the 787 design was tested with a flight crew flying the exact 787 that’s being sold today”
    Yes, that’s their job. We don’t flight test new planes with innocent civilians aboard.
    “Your willingness on rejecting science means that you believe that *YOUR* model, which isn’t of course a real mathematical one but rather a prejudicial model based on your gut or “lower male appendage”, is the right one.”
    Why do you assume I reject science? I enjoy science.
    “You want society to fly based on your gut, not science, because, you know, comparing science-based models isn’t fair, and fairy-based models … are, apparently?”
    I guess this is some sort of metaphor, so I’ll play along here. Society is flying just fine. We don’t understand economics any better than aerodynamics, and the “plane” is certainly not the most stable one, but it has gotten us somewhere. We are living longer healthier lives thanks to cheap energy. It might be a bad idea to replace the turbojets with electric fans at this stage of the game, with so many passengers aboard. I have no problem with experimentation, but it should not be done with a plane full of passengers. Furthermore I should not have to pay the cost of R&D for these new engines. Test pilots usually volunteer for the job.
    DrTSkoul:
    “Predictions made so far by climate models and scientific intuition are coming true”
    Sure they are. The predictions are no different that what climate has always done…..change. Extrapolating an existing warming trend is nothing to crow about. A model which predicts that the sun will come up tomorrow will likely be a successful model, but not one deserving of any hoopla.
    Pete Dunkelberg;
    “David, we are deciding and determining what sort of world people will inhabit in the not too distant future. We do this in many ways including making war and changing our planet’s climate. We also do it by sitting home and not bothering to take positive action.”
    With regard to making war, thanks to the two-way conversation of the internet, we may be reducing the war factor significantly. We no longer have to listen to a one-way “conversation” directed by big media. Most articles now have comment capability so that readers can debunk falsehoods in the article. That is changing the world as we speak. Several dictators have toppled recently thanks to our ability to communicate. Of this I am confident and thankful.
    With regard to changing our planet’s climate, that is still the subject of “heated debate” (pardon the pun). I expect that land use changes have a greater effect on our local climates than CO2 emissions. Convection is a powerful factor in our atmosphere, and it’s not modeled well, if at all.
    To respond to your reply, I don’t think that we are “deciding” what sort of climate our children will enjoy. Their climate (physical and economic) will either be more or less comfortable than ours, (which btw agrees with model projections).
    No one is “sitting home” that I know of. Most folks are out there working to produce useful products and services, and saving for the future so that our children and grandchildren will have better lives.
    “Nevertheless it is globally clear that people will be better off if we stop burning carbon and use other energy sources.”
    I disagree. People will be better off when they have strong economies and can set aside funds to deal with any sudden tragedy that nature may bring. Physically gathering diffuse energy makes no sense when nature has already done the gathering. Gathering diffuse energy is also harmful to the environment.

    Comment by David Wright — 24 Nov 2011 @ 10:31 AM

  208. Gavin,

    You say

    A couple of differences in this go around are worth noting: the hacker was much more careful to cover their tracks in the zip file they produced – all the file dates are artificially set to Jan 1 2011 for instance

    Surely the same applied to the original hack, where all the file dates had been set to 1 Jan 2009?

    Also, weren’t all emails in Phil Jones’s mailbox at UEA made available to the enquiries already conducted? What could new in this batch?

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 24 Nov 2011 @ 10:46 AM

  209. Hi Gavin,

    I’d greatly appreciate some context for 4235.txt (Santer et al 2008 responding to Douglas et al 2007):

    Osborn to Santer and Jones:
    “…I’m on the editorial board of IJC. Phil is right that it can be rather slow (though faster than certain other climate journals!). Nevertheless, IJC really is the preferred place to publish (though a downside is that Douglass et al. may have the opportunity to have a response considered to accompany any comment).
    I just contacted the editor, Glenn McGregor, to see what he can do. He promises to do everything he can to achieve a quick turn-around time (he didn’t quantify this) and he will also “ask (the publishers) for priority in terms of getting the paper online asap after the authors have received proofs”. He genuinely seems
    keen to correct the scientific record as quickly as possible. He also said (and please treat this in confidence, which is why I emailed to you and Phil only) that he may be able to hold back the hardcopy (i.e. the print/paper version) appearance of Douglass et al., possibly so that any accepted Santer et al. comment could appear alongside it. Presumably depends on speed of the review process…”

    Also 0455.txt:
    Santer:
    “…The editor of IJoC, Glenn McGregor, has agreed to treat our paper as an independent submission rather than as a comment on Douglass et al. This avoids the situation that I was afraid of – that our paper would be
    viewed as a comment, and Douglass et al. would have the “last word” in this exchange…”

    Many thanks!

    [Response: Santer asked Osborn (who was not an author on the paper but who was on the IJC editorial board) how the submission (that ended up as Santer et al, 2008) would be handled by IJC, and made a case that it should dealt with as a stand-alone submission rather than a comment (see email 4316 as well). The main arguments were that i) there was a lot of work that was done that went beyond simply demonstrating that Douglass et al (2008) used completely inappropriate statistical tests, ii) that the Douglass et al had in fact been rejected twice from other journals with comments that had been ignored by those authors, iii) that the Douglass paper itself was basically a comment on an earlier Santer paper. Osborn asked Glenn McGregor and he agreed that it would processed as a stand-alone submission.

    In general, there is a tension between submitting comments and submitting a new paper - the former can be faster (though not always), but are generally short, aren't as well cited, and can be a bit of waste of time. New papers allow you to do more work and you don't have to deal with the original authors, except when they are reviewers (which happens sometimes) - depending on who they are that can be useful or excruciating. Dealing with Douglass and Singer is very much the latter. I've been involved in both comments and standalone rebuttals and I don't have strong feelings either way. Note too that whatever happens there is very rarely a 'last word' (see here for some related discussion).

    As for the scheduling of the hard copy printing, that is an editorial decision but doesn't matter in the slightest. It wasn't requested by Santer or the other authors. These days the only thing that matters is the electronic submission. Indeed, I don't think I've even ever seen a hard copy of the IJC (no disrespect to the journal intended). - gavin]

    Comment by Mikel — 24 Nov 2011 @ 10:55 AM

  210. Chris @ 186

    “When I read WUWT comments I am left thinking that they seem to be making valid points – when I read RC comments on the same topic I am left floundering.”

    I hear you. It’s a growing problem, IMO, of people becoming more adept at deploying specious argumentation– attractive nuisances at best. In other words, WUWT is a sticky trap with pretty wrapping. If you’re not a scientist with a decades to spend mastering the subject of climate, then it may help to get meta. It’s still an investment of time and effort, though not nearly so demanding.

    Digging into it, you’ll see that RC is more hard nosed (which is why people, myself included, sometimes flounder here) and WUWT tends to spend more time presenting disguised rhetorical tropes, NOT science. Skeptical Science may help you get the lay of the land regarding the Magical Realm of Climate Rhetoric.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 24 Nov 2011 @ 10:59 AM

  211. Kevin C @203:

    That makes more sense; I think Jone’s explanation assumes the reader has more knowledge of how grants work than most of us do, so things that should be better explained are not said. It’s clear the email is concerned with the difficulty of dealing with the many FOIA requests that the CRU was being flooded with, particularly the lack of money to fulfill them. The sentences right before the quoted mine makes this obvious:

    “CRU is considered by the climate community as a data centre, but we don’t
    have any resources to undertake this work. Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden.”
    (email 1577)

    In other words, in the past when people/groups came to the CRU for data and the CRU released it (because the CRU is thought of as a data centre). the work done in collecting the data and releasing it was done with money from a grant they had received for something else – it’s done on “the backs” of preexisting funds. Jones says that most funders are aware of this and take it into account. Another “scandal” bites the dust.

    Comment by Robert Murphy — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:09 AM

  212. “We excluded records that did not show a *positive* correlation with their local temperatures.” Tim Osborn and Keith Briffa 29 Mar 2006 14:36:50 at 0237.txt.

    Some of us have suspected cherry-picking in climate studies to show warm periods only — but isn’t this admission a bit of proof?

    [Response: Please read the paper in question and understand what they were trying to test. They were looking at proxies that been used previously for a priori reasons and which had coherence with local instrumental temperatures (so that there could be some criteria for interpreting them as temperature changes in the past). Their principle aim was to see whether medieval temperatures showed the same coherence as the modern warming - and they didn't. The issue of potential selection bias was addressed in a comment/response a few months later. There is not much in the emails that extends this particular issue. - gavin]

    Comment by Hardy Cross — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:12 AM

  213. #160 François GM

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/models-can-be-wrong

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:14 AM

  214. #205 boldly utters:


    Convection is a powerful factor in our atmosphere, and it’s not modeled well, if at all.

    It is sometimes really astonishing how much self confidence some people have.

    How can one write a longish “sceptical” text on whatever site without even having read some introductory text on the subject? I plainly do not understand.

    That shows clearly how far your interest in the science of climate goes

    Marcus

    Comment by Marcus — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:18 AM

  215. DW @ 205

    So you believe that the current climate change is part of a natural variation ..”this what has always done”. That is where we strongly disagree. Take CO2 forcing out of the current climatic models and you will not see the variation that we are currently experiencing. Explain that… So you assume that diffuse energy gathering (e.g. every building a solar capture device) or geothermal energy are worse for the environment than burning fossil fuels?? Even excluding the CO2 you have nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, mercury, heavy metals, radiation (see oil extraction…), polluted water (see tar-sands) and on and on and on…this mode of energy production is more environmental friendly than geothermal???

    And you have nooooo idea about models, what they do, how they are used. Otherwise your reference to them will be different.

    Nature has always changed…what we do now is to decide the direction of change. You’d rather hang on some sense of purpose (nature will do what it will do..) rather than see the current science for what it is. The best explanation for what is going out there, offering the best predictions that can be offered. You don’t want to heed to that message fine… That is where my freedom begins. I am going to proceed with what I see to be true and won’t listen to any of your right GOP-like propaganda.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:24 AM

  216. @Mikel

    I am not sure, but Christy and Douglass had an article in the American Thinker about this, in which they claimed, that there was an interference with the Review process by Santer et al. However, Santer cleared it up. The most interesting part was: Christy and Douglass claimed their publication was deliberately hold back because of political reasons. They forgot to tell the readers, that on the day of electronic publication Singer used the publication in a political press conference. Ironic.

    Sources:
    the claim
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/a_climatology_conspiracy.html

    the response
    http://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/SanterOpenLetter3_v5.pdf

    PS: but this is real two-year old turkey.
    PPS: hope you enjoy thank giving and the football gams. Go Niners Go

    Comment by just me — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:34 AM

  217. > Dr. Jeff … page last updated 8 November, 2005
    Emeritus peer group?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:34 AM

  218. dhogaza #165: all models aren’t created equal. The flight simulators used for the 787 and other aircraft are far more verified and verifiable than any global climate model. They have thus earned our trust as a predictive tool. My understanding of global climate models is, however, that they are not too good at accounting for the effects of water vapor. If the atmospheric compostiiton includes roughly 3% water on average, I believe the GWP for this is about 200x that of CO2. How reliable can a model be if it does a poor job on 99.5% of that which it is trying to model? Do we want to base hugely consequential decisions on such models?

    [Response: Huh? This is just nonsense. Models incorporate water vapour and the fields validate well against observations and the sensitivities as a function of ENSO, Pinatubo and long term trends - see Soden et al (three paper), Santer et al (PNAS, two papers) etc. There is no 'GWP' defined for water vapour (though technically it would be indistinguishable from zero because of the extremely short perturbation time). For the climatological greenhouse effect, water vapour is roughly 50% of the long wave trapping, clouds provide about 25% and CO2 provides about 20% (Schmidt et al, 2010). A better question is whether we want to base hugely consequential decisions on mis-information? - gavin]

    Comment by Occupied Territory — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:38 AM

  219. Francois:

    How useful would a wrong prediction of extreme events be ? If so, useful for whom or for what?

    Exactly the question you should be asking of the contrarians. I’d bet the insurance industry will be paying more attention to it as extreme weather events continue to accrue.

    David:

    People will be better off when they have strong economies and can set aside funds to deal with any sudden tragedy that nature may bring

    How’s that “model” working out?

    Comment by flxible — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:39 AM

  220. marcus:
    “That shows clearly how far your interest in the science of climate goes”
    Is this a question? Are you saying that convection is well modeled or that it does not matter?

    Anyway, this is getting OT in a thread thread about the email release. The main reason I posted was to dispute the usefulness of the aerodynamic analogy. I find no valid disagreement here.

    Comment by David Wright — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:54 AM

  221. TrueSceptic:

    Surely the same applied to the original hack, where all the file dates had been set to 1 Jan 2009?

    Not so. Only the e-mails in FOI2009.zip (under FOIA/mail/) were all made to read 1 Jan 2009.

    Many of the code and data files (in FOIA/documents/) retained their original modification times (e.g. the 1990s), which probably correspond to the times the code and data were originally written by their authors (e.g. Briffa).

    What’s more, FOI2009.zip uses an enhancement of the .zip format. The classical .zip format only stores modification times in the local time zone of the machine creating the .zip. But with the “UX” feature (which is enabled on default by certain zip programs), each .zip entry also records the file’s modification time as UTC, as well as an access time in UTC (roughly, what time the file was last written or read).

    The access times mostly range from Sep 2009 to Nov 2009, and the difference between the UTC and local modification times suggest a time zone of -0500/-0400. More here and here.

    The latest SwiftHack 2.0 release (at least the front half of it) avoids these information leakages by suppressing this particular .zip format enhancement — only local modification times are stored throughout, so not even time zone information can be gleaned.

    – frank

    Comment by frank -- Decoding SwiftHack — 24 Nov 2011 @ 12:29 PM

  222. Francois:
    “How’s that “model” working out?”

    The short answer is that life expectancy has gone from just over 50 in 1960 to just under 70 years in 2010. The Human Development Index has also risen steadily during that period.

    Things are pretty good it seems.

    [Response: This is off topic. Enough thanks. - gavin]

    Comment by David Wright — 24 Nov 2011 @ 12:40 PM

  223. Thank you all for your kind rebuttals. I am neither arrogant nor an idiot, just someone who has reviewed the scientific data and made an informed decision. I am not a conspiracy theorist either. Just to enlighten some of you, the term AGW means anthropogenic global warming, i.e. man-made warming. Mankind contributes a miniscule amount to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    [Response: Not true. We have more than doubled CH4, increased CO2 by 40%, increased N2O by 15%, are responsible for the entirety of the CFCs and HFCs. The net forcing from this is ~2.5 W/m2 since the pre-industrial - equivalent to an increase of 1% in the sun's radiation. This is not miniscule - at least on this planet. - gavin]

    I don’t doubt that the earth has been warming but WE ARE NOT the main driver. That’s it in a nutshell. Oh, and the warming has been stopped for over a decade now, even as CO2 continues to increase. Do you understand the implications? Why did Trenberth claim that it’s a “shame” they can’t account for the missing heat? I thought he supported a cooler earth and would welcome it. Guess he’d rather we all burn up if it supports his theory.

    [Response: Now you are just being silly. Trenberth actually said it was a travesty that we didn't have good enough monitoring of the Earth's radiation budget to know where the energy is going (and coming) on decadal time scales. And that is a shame - surely even you would welcome more accurate observations? - gavin]

    Comment by Mike Lewis — 24 Nov 2011 @ 12:49 PM

  224. Occupied Territory:

    dhogaza #165: all models aren’t created equal. The flight simulators used for the 787 and other aircraft are far more verified and verifiable than any global climate model.

    Flight simulators aren’t the models used to actually design aircraft, of course, my point was that those models were accurate enough to allow for the creation of accurate flight simulators from them (as opposed to early simulators which were designed based on observations from actual flying aircraft).

    Now, when it comes to the models used to design aircraft, if you claim they’re “more verified and verifiable than an GCM”, my response is:

    “On what scale?”

    It’s a serious question.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:05 PM

  225. You know, in a perverse way, these releases of emails could be a good thing. It gives the loons a chance to come out and display their tinfoil hats, allowing those few denialists who still possess some vestigial sanity a chance to wonder whether they really want to be associated with these guys.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:13 PM

  226. In which David Wright demonstrates his ignorance of what climate models have predicted:

    DrTSkoul:
    “Predictions made so far by climate models and scientific intuition are coming true”

    DW:
    Sure they are. The predictions are no different that what climate has always done…..change. Extrapolating an existing warming trend is nothing to crow about.

    If your claim was true, your conclusion would be true, but your claim is not even wrong, David.

    What do you think your public display of your ignorance of GCM predictions that are seen in the real world will convince us of?

    1. you’re ignorant

    2. the models are useless

    Think about it …

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:18 PM

  227. An incorrect ReCaptcha shouldn’t cause RC’s comment form to vaporize one’s comment. I really do not like this feature. (when submitted via the popup window)

    From: Tom Wigley on Sat, 25 Jun 2005 – “… If I were on the greenhouse deniers’ side, I would be inclined to focus on the wide range of paleo results [prior to 1850] and the differences between them as an argument for dismissing them all. …”

    ?

    (Wigley does also say “On the science side the key point is that the M&M criticisms are unfounded.”)

    Comment by anna haynes — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:20 PM

  228. David Wright, in a classic goal-post move, defends his feeling about climate science …

    I guess this is some sort of metaphor, so I’ll play along here. Society is flying just fine. We don’t understand economics any better than aerodynamics, and the “plane” is certainly not the most stable one, but it has gotten us somewhere.

    By shuffling off into an economic argument, which has absolutely nothing to do with the correctness of the major conclusions reached by those researching our earth’s climate.

    Furthermore I should not have to pay the cost of R&D for these new engines.

    You do every time you fly, my friend. Such costs are amortized into the sales price of the resulting airliners, and the costs of purchasing airplanes are passed on to you, the flying public, by the airline companies …

    Not to mention that a lot of the basic research is funded by tax money, through the typical research money granted to academic researchers and direct spending on research by the military, the KC-135 tanker being just one example …

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:25 PM

  229. David Wright:

    Convection is a powerful factor in our atmosphere, and it’s not modeled well, if at all.

    Again, you’re just displaying your ignorance of GCMs in public, which is sad, in so many ways …

    “… if at all” ???

    Denialists scream that they want “the source to be free! the source to be free! the source to be free!”. The source to GISS Model E is online along with documentation and supporting papers.

    “if at all” ???

    NASA GISS Model E documentation sayeth:

    “Cloud processes

    CONDSE is a driver that sets up the vertical arrays for the column models for moist convection and large scale condensation, and accumulates diagnostics and output for the radiation and other modules.

    Moist convection

    The moist convection routine is a plume based model (Yao and Del Genio, 1995) that incorporates entraining and non-entraining plumes, downdrafts (which can also entrain environmental air), subsidence (using the quadratic upstream scheme).

    Hey, lookie, a module that models convection!!!! Who woulda thunk it. Looks like you’re wrong, David.

    Now … we’re left with whether or not we should trust your claim that convection’s “not modeled well”, given that you’re flat-out wrong about convection not being modeled at all (at least in Model E – and this was the version for AR4, BTW, 7 years old, you’ve had a *long* time to education yourself if that were something you’re actually interested in).

    Anyway, why should I believe your claim that convection’s “not modeled well”. Please support this claim by critiquing either the moist convection module itself or the paper that describes it.

    Teach us, oh master ..

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:34 PM

  230. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) #211, please see Cook & Lewandowsky’s The Debunking Handbook Part 2: The Familiarity Backfire Effect
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Debunking-Handbook-Part-2-Familiarity-Backfire-Effect.html
    (“…The often-seen technique of headlining your debunking with the myth in big, bold letters is the last thing you want to do…”)

    Comment by anna haynes — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:35 PM

  231. 217 frank,

    I should have been clearer: I was referring only to the files in ‘mail’. The files in the respective ‘documents’ folders were indeed treated differently.

    A related question: in the 2009 hack, the email files were in time sequence, the filenames being made up of the original Unix timestamps. The current batch are not only not named that way, using a simple 4-digit number instead, but appear to be in no obvious sequence at all. I wonder why they did that? To obscure context?

    Is there a properly ordered list somewhere? If not, I’ll see if I can produce one, based on the grep output I have.

    Comment by TrueSceptic — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:35 PM

  232. Chris:

    The WUWT and Climate Audit sites seem genuinely excited that there are some revelations, previously undisclosed concessions, confirmation of the righteousness of many of their “complaints” about certain points/issues in the past. An example would be the refusal to accept some analysis carried out by Mcintyre on the way a “Hockey Stick” graph would inevitably produce that shape because of the way that it is constructed (please do not assume that I know what I am talking about here!).

    The problem, Chris, is the bulk of what you read at WUWT is posted by people who are ignorant of the issues they’re writing about.

    David Wright, above, is a classic example. He claims that GCMs aren’t any good because they possibly don’t model convection, which is just flat-out wrong. His back-up claim is that, if they do model convection, they don’t model convection “well”. But it’s clear he knows absolutely nothing about GCMs. He’s pontificating about stuff he knows nothing about.

    So, Chris, if you need open-heart surgery, will you:

    1. Place your life into the hands of a college-dropout TV weatherman (Watts) -or-
    2. a surgeon

    if you want to learn about climate science, will you:

    1. study the topic as misrepresented by a college-dropout TV weatherman who, among other things, believes that using differing baselines when presenting climate anomaly data will lead to differing trends (which means he doesn’t understand 9th grade algebra) – or -
    2. professional scientists who’ve spent years earning their PhDs and spend every workday advancing science (except when they’re in departmental meetings :) ).

    If your answer to my first question is different than your answer to my second one, I must ask:

    “why?”

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:42 PM

  233. Chris:

    An example would be the refusal to accept some analysis carried out by Mcintyre on the way a “Hockey Stick” graph would inevitably produce that shape because of the way that it is constructed (please do not assume that I know what I am talking about here!).

    McIntyre, of course, *depends* on your not knowing what you’re talking about here, if you did you probably wouldn’t be fooled.

    For starters, the “hockey stick” effect McIntyre says was inevitably produced by the form of PCA analysis used by Mann’s first paper which is 13 or 14 years old now was 10x LESS than the actual “hockey stick”.

    When he showed his results graphically, he changed the Y axis for the “Hockey stick” from the random data to make it look as thought the magnitude were the same.

    tch tch. That’s dishonest, Chris.

    Also, as it turns out, he generated a very large set of random data. Most of the individual random sequences *do not* show a “hockey stick”. So much for the ‘inevitable” claim.

    He sorted the results by “hockey-stickedness”, cherry picked those that showed the most pronounced results, and presented those as though they were representative of the *full set* of random data (that “inevitable” bit again).

    tch tch. That’s also dishonest, Chris.

    And, of course, many researchers have worked on proxy reconstructions and the results are always a “hockey stick” – regardless of the statistical treatment that’s chosen. So even if McI were right about the particular form of PCA used by Mann, the fact is that other statistical treatment of other proxy datasets all show the same thing.

    McI, at least, has a BS in mathematics, as do I (he’s much better at BSing than I am, though), so he’s not as ignorant as college-dropout, algebra-challenged Watts. But he’s no more honest …

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:51 PM

  234. @ 195 As for Jeff Short’s qualifications as an ecologist, I don’t doubt them. But as an ecologist and biogeochemist(although one who doesn’t work on climate change issues often) I must contend his contention that most ecologists do not believe species are responding to climate change. All one has to do is look at the themes for several of the last two Ecological Society of America meetings (www.esa.org), which have centered on climate, land use change and stewardship of ecological resources. Clearly it is taken as a given by the body of ecologists that climate change is and will be occuring, and that it represents a real challenge to management of natural resources and species. The science is playing catch-up.

    Comment by Stephen Baines — 24 Nov 2011 @ 2:03 PM

  235. Gavin, here’s your response to 204:
    [Response: You are misinterpreting these statements. A model is *always* an imperfect rendering of reality. That is what is meant by the statement "all models are wrong". But models can still provide skillful forecasts. This is not contradictory because 'skillful' means better than the alternative methods of forecasting (i.e. assuming no change, or persistence) - it does not mean perfect. Imperfect hurricane models provide good forecasts of hurricane tracks all the time - and these are extremely useful for preventing loss of life. Your other statements are just strawmen - models are not 'evidence' for AGW, rather they provide explanations of the evidence gained from observations in ways that are very robust. How can you do attribution without a model of some sort? - gavin]

    That’s exactly my point. Doesn’t the fact that GCMs fail mean that the CO2 attribution (sensitivity) has been much overestimated ?

    [Response: No - how does that follow? Sensitivity and attribution are two different things though - one is an intrinsic property of the climate system - potentially constrainable by observations, while attribution depends on any particular event and the different drivers and the internal variability that might be relevant. The fact that GCMs are imperfect implies no attribution can be 100% certain, but many attributions are indeed very robust. Do you doubt for instance that the 1992-1993 cooling seen in surface temperatures was related to the aerosol layer in the stratosphere produced by Pinatubo? What is the basis for that attribution in your opinion? - gavin]

    Comment by François GM — 24 Nov 2011 @ 2:33 PM

  236. François GM:

    Doesn’t the fact that GCMs fail mean that the CO2 attribution (sensitivity) has been much overestimated ?

    Why not underestimated rather than overestimated?

    The “fact that GCMs fail” is one reason why climate sensitivity (not attribution) is given a consensus range of 2.5-4C more or less, rather than much tighter bounds (of course model results aren’t the only bits of the science that constrain sensitivity, not in the least).

    You’re saying that sensitivity must be much less than 2.5, rather than lie in that rather large range, because models aren’t perfect? What is your basis for this amazing claim? Why would’t better model performance simply tighten that range rather than lead to a value that, in your mind, must be *below* that range???

    Makes no sense, dude …

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 2:53 PM

  237. And of course, “fail” implies that they’re totally wrong, rather than imperfect. That’s just baloney …

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 2:54 PM

  238. Clearly it is taken as a given by the body of ecologists that climate change is and will be occurring

    One just has to skim a few volumes of “Bioscience” (which focuses on “whole-organism biology”, frequently in an ecological context) to see that this is true …

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 2:56 PM

  239. I have read the first 100 emails so far. Don’t give me a hard time for being lazy Tony, I’m not being financed by an oil industry stink tank.

    So far I have found one cherry hiding in a longer( and clearer) email. Maybe If I work hard I can pick enough cherries to have with ice cream.

    I have learned a lot so far.

    The millions climate scientists have extorted must have gone to someone besides Briffa. I have to admit that I felt a little Murdocky reading his bank statement.

    Fascinating to see a denier try to bully Jones , then append an ” I’ll sue your ass if you broadcast this email” disclaimer. One would almost think that the denier worked for a big corporation with expensive legal advisors.

    I don’t think I have ever learned as much about climate science as I did reading about the church group that dealt with missionaries.

    John McManus

    Comment by John McManus — 24 Nov 2011 @ 2:57 PM

  240. #222 Mike Lewis

    You are exhibiting very typical examples of misunderstanding the science, probably due to ‘believing’ facts out of context.

    One of the best things anyone can do to get things back in context is to check the scientific certitude of a claim.

    It does take time though. I recommend the journey highly though as it is highly educational.

    Not studying the material that has survived peer review/response can be likened to various levels of ignorance as in ignoring the actual evidence.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 24 Nov 2011 @ 3:28 PM

  241. Re 208 Thanks again for the context Gavin, but if the hard copy scheduling doesn’t matter in the slightest, why did Osborn write to Santer and Jones:
    “He also said (and please treat this in confidence, which is why I emailed to you and Phil only) that he may be able to hold back the hardcopy (i.e. the print/paper version) appearance of babylo at irrelevant information in confidence? Why should Osborn take care of sharing it with Santer and Jones only? Does it not look and sound like the editor of of IJoC, Glenn McGregor, was favoring Santer so that his comment would appear alongside Douglass’ paper “to correct the scientific record as quickly as possible” (Osborn-sic)?

    [Response: I think if you look at this from the editors point of view. He has published a truly terrible paper (based on a statistical method that rejects 80% of examples when it should only reject 5%). Having the rebuttal appear at the same time, could appear appropriate- but as I said, this is of ever diminishing importance. The electronic version of Douglass et al came out a year before the santer paper, and of course, the rebuttal got far less attention. Such is life. -gavin]

    Comment by Mikel — 24 Nov 2011 @ 3:53 PM

  242. Nor old stuff at all. New email messages showing the
    leading lights of the AGW supporting scientists, working together to deny access to publicly funded climate data, and twisting, bending and breaking the scientific norms, FOI regulations, and possibly the law in the process.
    date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 08:48:36 -0400
    from: “Michael E. Mann”
    subject: Re: [Fwd: Jones et al]
    to: REDACTED

    thanks Phil, Tom is probably even more vulnerable being in the states. He could become a
    new center of attack if NCDC indeed revises in a way that substantially increases the
    trends…
    mike
    [1]REDACTED wrote:

    Mike, Gavin,
    Managed to read your message Gavin. I knwo this
    isn’t going to stop and will get worse as the WG1
    report publication nears.

    Another issue that may overtake things is new work
    at NCDC, which is likely to raise recent temps (as the
    impact of the greater % of buoys is accounted for) and
    also reduce earlier temps (pre -1940) for reasons that
    aren’t that clear. Tom Peterson will be presenting this
    here tomorrow, so will learn more. Upshot is that
    their trend will increase….

    Cheers
    Phil

    Comment by Eve — 24 Nov 2011 @ 4:18 PM

  243. I need to apologize for questioning Jeff’s credentials as an ecologist. I could have made my point–that ecologists as a group accept climate change and that Jeff’s experience is atypical–without throwing mud at his name. That was wrong of me, and I’m sorry.

    Comment by Daniel J. Andrews — 24 Nov 2011 @ 4:42 PM

  244. If we examine the motives leading to the release of these emails it is clear that the purpose is to influence the general public and lead them to a guilty verdict of Climate Scientists. The accusation being that they have acted fraudulently.

    What they have presented as evidence is all circumstantial and rather thin gruel. Whoever acts on their (climate scientists) behalf will be able in most cases to diminish the evidence or even discredit it altogether line by line.

    The problem lies with the sheer weight of the evidence or should I say mass. There are so many emails each needing to be explained and however well it is done the Jury will be overwhelmed. They will be able to dismiss part of the evidence but will eventually succumb and return a guilty verdict.

    [Response: Which is of course why 'trial by public opinion based on tabloid 'journalism' should be ignored.--eric]

    Comment by FundMe — 24 Nov 2011 @ 6:22 PM

  245. This subject is generating a lot of attention at http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/
    “Another Treaty Negotiation, Another Batch of Climate Science E-Mail”
    66 comments already.

    [Response: Indeed, and I made my views of Revkin's journalism clear to him there, as I did 2 years ago. I was proven right of course, but he appears to have learned only a bit from it. Same old 'these emails raise questions.' Yes, and it raises questions in my mind why Revkin continues to provide a forum for such red baiting tactics.--eric]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 24 Nov 2011 @ 6:46 PM

  246. Tamino @ 46

    The emails show something about the nature of an empirical science that you will not admit to. There is room for considerable doubt over the magnitude and likelihood of prospective climate change. One of the aims of this tranche of e-mails (5,000/20,000) would appear to show the admission of errors in the work.
    For example on the upside down Tiljander, Darrell Kaufman to Keith Briffa Sept 09.
    ” I think it’s important that we publish an erratum to correct my error in reversing the Finnish lake-varve series.”

    Another is to show that the doubts of the public images of global warming. Here in 5315.txt is Prof Phil Jones
    “I’ve heard Lonnie Thompson talk about the Kilimanjaro core and he got some local temperatures – that we don’t have access to, and there was little warming in them.”

    [Response: Tamino is well aware of the nature of empirical science. those emails you quote from are exactly the point -- scientists talk about uncertainty all the time, and publish on it too (Kaufman did publish and erratum, and it is well known (and has been discussed here at RC) that Kilmanjaro is not a simple temperature signal.--eric]

    Comment by Manicbeancounter — 24 Nov 2011 @ 7:01 PM

  247. Gavin,

    I was asked by other visitors here about how the economic model was working out, and I replied. I agree it’s OT in terms of the email discussion. I even said so.

    Other posters continue to ask questions of me regarding economics (which does relate to the overarching topic of your website). I see no comment below those posts that they are OT. Unlike the regulars, who apparently get a pass on OT posts. I do have answers to those questions for anyone here who is willing to admit that we are all ignorant, but I will respectfully refrain from reply at your request.

    [Response: If you feel you are being singled out it's because you started out by saying things that were both on topic and wrong. But we don't read and approve/dispprove and comment on every single email -- there just isn't time. Our lack of comment on something should not be taken as an endorsement of it.--eric]

    Comment by David Wright — 24 Nov 2011 @ 7:07 PM

  248. ““On what scale?”

    It’s a serious question.

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:05 PM”

    On the full scale of the object being modeled, (the entire aircraft in this example) and for the time period of the flight, and for the myriad of conditions through which the aircraft may fly.

    Aerodynamic models are practical because they are testable.

    No climate model has predicted which way a desert may expand, where crops may fail or where snow may fall. One poster above eluded that insurance companies will one day use climate models as actuarial tools. That would certainly be easier for them than crash testing, but the fact that they are not widely used by actuaries should tell you something.

    In case you have forgotten, the intial point I made was that aerodynamic models are a poor analogy for climate models. Don’t you agree?

    One ignorant soul to another.;-)

    [Response: All analogies are wrong (at some level), but some analogies are useful. In making blanket claims about the pointlessness of models, aerodynamic models are a reasonable example to demonstrate that the general statement cannot be true. Thus it should (in a rational discussion) serve to move the conversation on to the specifics that indicate why modelling is useful in any particular case. However, for people who are already determined to refuse to even consider the issue, the discussion moves towards why aerodynamics is not exactly like climate as if that was the argument. It isn't. - gavin]

    Comment by David Wright — 24 Nov 2011 @ 7:32 PM

  249. (place tongue in cheek) If the flight simulation models are so much more accurate than the climate models then maybe we should be using the flight simulation models to predict our future climate.

    Or perhaps we just stick with the best tool that we happen to have for the job.

    Comment by Michael Hauber — 24 Nov 2011 @ 8:16 PM

  250. I confess to deriving a certain perverse pleasure from this second release of hacked emails. I missed the rapid-fire skewering of denialists and conspiracy theorists that Gavin and company provide. I think the hackers are unwittingly serving the public interest.

    Now if we could just have a release of the hackers’ emails – that would be a party!

    Comment by Peter Backes — 24 Nov 2011 @ 8:17 PM

  251. The inability of some people to accept that all models are wrong (I think ‘incomplete’ would be a better word) reminds me of the (very) old comedy routine about the explorers who had a life-sized map of Africa. Just as all maps are incomplete but even Uncle Stan’s sketch of how to get to his house is useful provided you accept its limitations, so are all models incomplete but many are useful provided you have a reasonable understanding of their limitations.

    Chris commented on the difficulty a layman has of deciding which sites to believe. A good guide is that following the links from a reliable site will quickly lead you to scientific papers and actual data. An untrustworthy site will usually have far fewer links and the ones there are usually do not lead to data and papers but are more likely to end up at opinion pieces that give uncited claims. Also check for consistency and coherence in the claims (usually greater at reliable sites) and a willingness among the participants to air their differences where they disagree. Denialist sites frequently have mutually contradictory comments that are passed over.

    Comment by Richard Simons — 24 Nov 2011 @ 8:57 PM

  252. “Models are not there to give answers but to provide insight”

    This is silly. The models are not being used only to provide insight (explain the past) but drive policy (make forecasts)

    [Response: Model forecasts are all you have. Would you prefer observations? "Unfortunately, observations of the future are not available at this time." (Knutson and Tuleya, 2005). Nonetheless, you greatly overstate the degree to which policy follows from the specifics of any model. - gavin]

    I should’ve been clear; that was Ray Ladbury’s comment (now in quotes) on this thread.

    I agree that they can provide insight (explain the past) but not give answers (a base for policy).

    They are as useful as the big models that said stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8%.

    [Response: The stimulus is off topic, but your logic makes no sense. Information gained from models in epidemiology, economics, weather forecasting, ENSO forecasting, fisheries, tides, celestial mechanics, population, demography, etc. are used to inform policy decisions at all sorts of levels. The idea that decision makers should arbitrarily exclude a whole class of information from policy deliberations is just perverse. - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 24 Nov 2011 @ 9:04 PM

  253. It seems that very little has been spent trying to track down the email hacker. Note comments at the link about someone named Neil Wallis.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 Nov 2011 @ 9:40 PM

  254. Who is Ray Ladbury and why is he allowed to use vulgarities in his self anointed moderating of posters? Seems the skeptics have a point in condemning the “consensus” if he is a part of it.

    [Response: I don't know who he is, and I don't always agree on his style, but he's usually dead-on with the facts. And like I said above, our lack of comment on a comment is not an endorsement of it.--eric]

    Comment by John — 24 Nov 2011 @ 10:50 PM

  255. “It gives the loons a chance to come out and display their tinfoil hats,”
    I knew it!! there really was something wrong with this image! http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/56/Archibald_Thorburn_Plate_77.jpg
    Or do they only put their hats on during specific seasons?

    Comment by jyyh — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:08 PM

  256. John: Ray Ladbury is a PhD physicist, which you are not.

    (I don’t know you, but I know I’m right, do you see the problem with common denialist crap?)

    Someone else (who is reasonable):

    The inability of some people to accept that all models are wrong (I think ‘incomplete’ would be a better word)

    Yes, you’re right. The “all models are wrong” was meant for scientists, who would readily understand the second clause about “usefulness”. It wasn’t, obviously, said expecting it would be quote-mined/misunderstood to say that models are useless. Science is all about models. Even the basic equation giving the acceleration of a falling body on earth is “wrong”, as the gravitational field of the earth varies very, very slightly depending on locale. But it’s still useful, you can design an build airplanes while ignoring the minor variation of the gravitational field over various points on the planet …

    Comment by dhogaza — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:12 PM

  257. 244 … in a perverse way, these releases of emails could be a good thing. It gives the loons a chance to come out and display their tinfoil hats… Ray Ladbury — 24 Nov 2011 @ 1:13 PM

    What tinfoil hats? The growing obsession with reading other people’s mail coincides with the disappearance of tin foil from commerce.

    Though once as ubiquitous as the term ‘ tin foil’, the real stannery product was last employed as embossed seals for Danish butter cookie tins in the 1960′s.

    Absent the protection this high Z metal foil affords, sensitive and undermedicated folk have suffered acute head explosion injuries on reading WUWT or Climate Depot with only a few turns of aluminum foil about their temples. Amateur scientists should be warned that only an asbestos top hat lined with lead bricks can attenuate the full spectrum of blogosphere radiation visible on the sidebar of Watt’s blog, from warbling cosmic rays and the emanations of the iron sun to Ann Coulter broadcasts.

    Comment by Russell — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:21 PM

  258. @ John

    Ray Ladbury has been quite open about who he is and what his credentials are in his comments here and on other climate science blogs over the years. While some of his specific words occasionally can be construed as being caustic, his analysis is typically spot-on.

    I, for one, am glad he is not reticent in venturing his opinions. I just wish I could get him to participate in our Forum at Skeptical Science. :)

    As for “the skeptics have a point in condemning the “consensus” if he is a part of it“…you must be referring to the fake-skeptics. Real skeptics don’t make evaluating the science conditional on excluding someone they don’t like.

    ReCaptcha: Ffortn below (baby it’s cold outside)

    Comment by Daniel Bailey — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:22 PM

  259. furhter info of the effect of wearing brightly shining acessories: http://www.google.com/search?q=Gavia+population+decline&rls=com.microsoft:fi
    sorry, got sidetracked.

    Comment by jyyh — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:30 PM

  260. Climategate 2.0: New E-Mails Rock The Global Warming Debate

    James Taylor – Heartland Institute

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2011/11/23/climategate-2-0-new-e-mails-rock-the-global-warming-debate/

    Stand by and do nothing or log on and defend your ground.

    Comment by vendicar decarian — 25 Nov 2011 @ 1:35 AM

  261. Russell — 24 Nov 2011 @ 11:21 PM, this is for you.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Nov 2011 @ 2:13 AM

  262. The million dollar question is raised by Chris (187):

    “In essence, as a layman, I am left trying to judge the quality of each sides arguments – and it is impossible for me to draw a conclusion on certain specifics.”

    I think the best approach is to focus on the big picture rather than on certain specifics, or at least not make the logical mistake of extrapolating from a certain specific issue (are there methodical flaws in the original MBH hockey stick?) to the big picture (is all of climate science bunk?)

    That would be akin to questioning the existence of gravity because you see a bird flying in the air.

    For more guidelines on how to gauge the validity of conflicting arguments: http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/who-to-believe/

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 25 Nov 2011 @ 4:32 AM

  263. “All models are wrong but some are useful”

    Just read that in german version, in “Spektrum d. Wissenschaft” (german sister magazine of Scientific American) … seems to be a new popular phrase among folks doing computer simulations, i.e. people who know well about possibilities and limitations of models.

    Aimed at people who do not, this kind of phrasing is somewhat dangerous. For those hostile to science it does not matter anyway what you say

    Cheers,
    Marcus

    Comment by Marcus — 25 Nov 2011 @ 4:49 AM

  264. Kinda wonder why there is such ruckus. These leaks are great way how to access the real performance of these scientists. An accidental leak would work as a random sample as well.

    Lets look at this from a simple point of view. They are paid from public money and data about theirs real work leaked on internet, not a sample carefully cherrypicked by them, but a simple random sample (which can proof nothing of course, but it can be used to create better whole image).

    That spam filter is quite brutal, lets try out of context: office lady like degeneration

    Comment by Raghar — 25 Nov 2011 @ 5:06 AM

  265. Leaked climate emails force carbon dioxide to resign

    CARBON dioxide has resigned from being a gas, it has been confirmed.

    The move came after a fresh batch of leaked emails between climate scientists showed that CO2 had been lying about what it is and what it does.

    According to one of the emails, sent by Julian Cook, a researcher at the University of East Anglia, carbon dioxide had got drunk and admitted it had made the whole thing up.

    Cook adds: “He says he’s not even a gas, never mind a greenhouse gas. He says his name’s Brian and he used to work for Kwik Fit in Norwich.

    “He says his application to UEA was turned down ‘because he doesn’t talk all posh’ and he’s done all of this just to embarrass us.

    “What are we going to do???????”

    But Professor Steve Jones replied: “For Christ’s sake don’t tell the press. In the meantime we have to go back to our notes and work out what in the name of xxxx has been coming out of engines and power stations in ever increasing quantities for the last 150 years.

    “Then we have to see if this thing traps heat in the atmosphere in the same way that Brian did.”

    Martin Bishop, who has a PhD in blogging from Delingpole University, said: “At least carbon dioxide has finally owned up. Hopefully David Attenborough will now have the decency to stop machine-gunning my children into a pit.”

    Meanwhile, carbon and oxygen, the gas’s constituent parts, have been suspended from the periodic table of elements pending the outcome of a high-level inquiry.

    The chief medical officer is to issue guidelines for people who want to keep breathing and have bodies.

    Comment by J Bowers — 25 Nov 2011 @ 5:30 AM

  266. @ David Wright, 24 Nov 2011 @ 10:31 AM

    “I disagree. People will be better off when they have strong economies and can set aside funds to deal with any sudden tragedy that nature may bring. Physically gathering diffuse energy makes no sense when nature has already done the gathering. Gathering diffuse energy is also harmful to the environment.”

    Who said replacements for fossils fuels need to be diffuse? Most of those who are serious about solving the climate crisis, such as James Hansen, acknowledge the necessity for nuclear power and other baseload-generating power sources such as geothermal, or concentrated solar thermal.

    Your statements are full of beliefs. For example, this is a belief:

    “I expect that land use changes have a greater effect on our local climates than CO2 emissions”

    That is not science. It is a belief. It is also a belief to assume that solving the climate crisis means living in some sort of redux society, living off of “diffuse” energy.

    Your prior assumptions and beliefs are utterly distorting your ability to critically analyse the enormous societal impacts of a rapidly changing climate.

    Comment by Tom Keen — 25 Nov 2011 @ 5:56 AM

  267. The Guardian: The leaked climate science emails – and what they mean

    Better than last time, much better than a number of news outlets.

    Comment by J Bowers — 25 Nov 2011 @ 7:45 AM

  268. A new Hockey Stick paper has it upside down.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 25 Nov 2011 @ 9:26 AM

  269. Dr. Schmidt,

    The point I was trying to make about the “travesty of the missing heat” is that maybe there isn’t any missing heat; that perhaps the models and conclusions are not correct. It seems that rather than trying to correct these, the data gets adjusted in some fashion. I am of the opinion that there are missing (or incorrect) variables being used in the models; not due to ignorance or willful malfeasance but due to the natural course of building a model of an extremely complex system. It’s going to take multiple iterations to achieve something that comes close to reality.

    [Response: It is not a 'travesty' of missing heat, it is a travesty of insufficient monitoring capability. Models by the way have indeed had multiple iterations - with the first attempts at modelling transient climate change dating to the early 1980s. This is not the first go around. - gavin]

    Regarding my comments about mankind’s miniscule addition of GHG’s, the link below summarizes “our” contributions. Is it wrong?

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

    [Response: Yes. It is very wrong. - gavin]

    Semantics aside, it’s not so much the AMOUNT we’ve added as it is the ability to affect heat retention in the atmosphere, and to that end, it’s not much. Granted CO2 has the largest radiative forcing effect but this is a logarithmic effect.

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg.html
    http://knowledgedrift.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/co2-is-logarithmic-explained-3/

    [Response: But this has been known since Arrhenius and has been factored in to every projection since. This is indeed why people talk about sensitivity to 2xCO2, rather than sensitivity per ppm. - gavin]

    There are two sides to this issue, with intelligent people making intelligent arguments on both sides. Unfortunately it has become politicized and when insults are thrown, it causes people (me) to wonder if the science truly backs up the claims made by those people.

    [Response: This is not actually true - there are not 'two sides' to the science. What you are seeing are 'science-y' discussions that use out and out falsehoods (such as the geocraft website you cite above) and red herrings (the logarithmic nature of CO2 forcing) to confuse the unwary into thinking that scientists are confused about these things. Unfortunately, you are being lied to - but I hope you can delve into this in a little more depth and get a clearer picture. At the very least try and find some more credible sources for your information. Perhaps we will never agree on any policy option, but let's discuss them with a scientific basis that doesn't involve made-up statistics that are lying around on the internet. - gavin]

    Comment by Mike Lewis — 25 Nov 2011 @ 9:39 AM

  270. Tom Keen and others:

    The blog deems economics OT (at least for me) on this thread, so I cannot effectively argue a position on the usefulness of models.

    First of all, it’s a strawman to imply that I think models are completely useless. Learning, even if only for the sake of learning, is always a good thing.

    The best I can offer is that an aerodynamic model is able to show how an airfoil will react to a given control input. Climate models are all over the map when it comes to predicting a reaction from a given control input. The cost of installing a mechanism which might add very little value to the aircraft is essential to the discussion.

    Sorry, but I cannot participate fully in the discussion with these handcuffs on. I must respect the wishes of the blog owner.

    Comment by David Wright — 25 Nov 2011 @ 9:42 AM

  271. #248 Peter Dunkelberg: Perhaps this detail about “hackers” is a microcosm of this whole global warming debate. People have their presumed answer for this (e.g. “the emails were hacked). But what is the proof they were hacked? I raised this question in a previous post and Gavin replied that someone doesn’t ordinarily get 220,000 files in their email. True enough. But, we also have forensic computer science. I have yet to hear of any forensic evidence of a hacking into these servers. My own guess is that it was an insider. I don’t have any hard evidence to back that up; it’s just what makes the most sense to me given what limited info we know.

    [Response: The hacker also hacked into RealClimate last time around. Not the actions of a not-hacker. - gavin]

    Comment by Occupied Territory — 25 Nov 2011 @ 9:44 AM

  272. Grauniad has asked for commenters to share any insights they may have on the identity of the hackers. Leo Hickman has annotated the READ_ME with a few interesting observations and an explanation for each of the email quote mines that the hacker chose.

    Comment by J Bowers — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:05 AM

  273. “[Response: But this has been known since Arrhenius and has been factored in to every projection since. This is indeed why people talk about sensitivity to 2xCO2, rather than sensitivity per ppm. - gavin]”

    Which Arrhenius paper? I thought Callendar did a better job myself. It would seem that CO2 forcing should have a temperature dependance on the location of the source of the back radiation, the source of the OLR intercepted and the available energy at the source. A*ln(Cf/Ci) seems a bit simplistic for extreme ranges of temperatures. The Antarctic appears to agree. :)

    [Response: This is a discussion about the radaitive forcing of CO2, not the temperature response, and has nothing to do with spatial variations in temperature - whether in the Antarctic or elsewhere. - gavin]

    Comment by dallas — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:08 AM

  274. David Wright:

    Climate models are all over the map when it comes to predicting a reaction from a given control input.

    Really? Care to document that? Coming from someone who recently claimed that GCMs might not even model convection, why would anyone believe anything you say unless you thoroughly document it using credible sources of information (i.e. not the same web site that told you that GCMs don’t model convection).

    Of course, even if your statement’s true, the correct thing is to pay attention to the models that perform best.

    And, of course, you didn’t answer my question regarding aerodynamic models, further adding to my impression that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:17 AM

  275. Occupied Territory:

    People have their presumed answer for this (e.g. “the emails were hacked).

    No, not “presumed”, UEA has said they were hacked and the police have treated the episode as such, and we take them at their word. Sysadmins can usually tell, you know? Look up “computer forensics”. The “leaker” argument comes from one place – the denialsphere – with no evidence whatsoever.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:20 AM

  276. Tom Keen:
    “Your prior assumptions and beliefs are utterly distorting your ability to critically analyse the enormous societal impacts of a rapidly changing climate.”

    We all have beliefs, and we are all ignorant in many ways. That cannot be denied. IMHO your belief that a catastrophy is imminent is a belief on your part.

    “Who said replacements for fossils fuels need to be diffuse?”

    I agree with Hansen that Nuclear Energy is a viable source. Hopefully many cities will own a safe nuke plant one day. It’s just currently more expensive than hydrocarbons. Australia has lots of uranium to mine, so they should get behind it. Uranium can be mined using in-situ methods, with a similar footprint to oil and gas extraction, without scraping the surface. It would be really nice if we could figure out a way to economically (AKA efficiently) extract uranium from the ocean (Assuming that some faction of the ocean biosphere does not need miniscule quantities uranium to survive of course.)

    The statement about diffuse energy relates to my “belief” that energy sources should be evaluated on the basis of how much surface area is used per btu of energy produced. That’s where I believe diffuse energy sources like solar, wind and hydro fail. We cannot stop using energy ccompletely, so we need to focus more on using the most efficient forms first. Efficiency being the one that uses the least surface area per BTU.

    As for hack vs whisleblower, civil disobedience might involve hacking, so that’s on the table too.

    Comment by David Wright — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:35 AM

  277. dhogoza:

    “Of course, even if your statement’s true, the correct thing is to pay attention to the models that perform best.”

    As I understand it, the use of a suite of models is preferred over reliance on one particular model. The point is that climate models do not predict the result of any particular attempt at controling climate with public policy.

    It would be very difficult to fly a plane which reacts to control inputs 200 years later.

    Sorry, must have missed your question about aerodynamic models. Maybe you could try being a bit less confrontational, it comes across as desparation. Just a friendly suggestion.

    Comment by David Wright — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:47 AM

  278. @ David Wright

    “The blog deems economics OT (at least for me) on this thread, so I cannot effectively argue a position on the usefulness of models. “

    Evasion, pure and simple. You made unsupported assertions about models, revealing a near-utter lack of knowledge about them other than the usual fake-skeptic talking points. And you continue to duck dhogaza’s cornering you on the subject.

    Suggestion: admit you were wrong and then try to learn more about them. That would be the skeptical thing to do. After all, “learning, even if only for the sake of learning, is always a good thing”.

    “Sorry, but I cannot participate fully in the discussion with these handcuffs on. “

    Yet more evasion. It is not convincing, nor becoming.

    Comment by Daniel Bailey — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:53 AM

  279. Mike Lewis:
    “There are two sides to this issue, with intelligent people making intelligent arguments on both sides. Unfortunately it has become politicized and when insults are thrown, it causes people (me) to wonder if the science truly backs up the claims made by those people.”

    I agree with Gavin here, There is but one truth, but there are many more than two sides to “the science” and “the politics of the issue”. Probably as many sides as there are concerned people. These emails show that even the experts disagree on the various mechanisms driving climate. If we ever do agree we will probably still be wrong.

    Comment by David Wright — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:55 AM

  280. Erratum in my earlier account: “UT”, not “UX”. (FOI2009.zip uses “UT” and “Ux” (small “x”) extra fields; a “UT” extra field contains the modification and access times as UTC.)

    TrueSceptic:

    I should have been clearer: I was referring only to the files in ‘mail’. The files in the respective ‘documents’ folders were indeed treated differently.

    Actually there’s also a slight difference in the treatment of the e-mails, as I said. FOI2009.zip also contains time zone information (with the UTC times given as 1 Jan 2009 05:00). No time zones whatsoever are given in FOIA2011.zip.

    The current batch are not only not named that way, using a simple 4-digit number instead, but appear to be in no obvious sequence at all. I wonder why they did that? To obscure context?

    I’ve no idea, so I’ll just hazard a totally wild guess. Numbering the e-mails sequentially using ordinals would make sense if the sequence was produced by … a search engine. So perhaps the SwiftHackers were ranking the e-mails using certain search terms (using some search engine algorithm), and decided they would use the search engine ordering, so that the most ‘damning’ e-mails come in front.

    – frank

    Comment by frank -- Decoding SwiftHack — 25 Nov 2011 @ 11:03 AM

  281. John@254,
    Ray Ladbury is a physicist specializing in radiation effects in semiconductors who is fricking tired of idiots just making sh*t up and pretending they understand things they haven’t devoted 5 minutes to investigating.

    I have made it a point to have a reasonable understanding of how climate works based on published scientific literature, but I am by no means a climate expert. In that sense, I have virtually no influence on the scientific consensus for the currently dominant model of Earth’s climate, of which anthropogenic global warming is an inevitable consequence if we keep burning fossil fuels.

    What I do think I contribute to these discussions is a pretty thorough understanding of 1)the fact that science works, 2)how it works, 3)that climate science is not at all aberrant among the sciences. What I believe is that science should be given a chance to work, and that policy should be based on sound science.

    I have not advocated strongly for any particular measures other than increased conservation and development of a sustainable energy infrastructure (which would be essential to the future of human civilization even if our current infrastructure were not changing the climate in a dangerous and irreversible fashion).

    I see no particular advantage to suffering fools gladly. By fools, I mean those who reject the opinions of experts and the science without understanding them in aggregate, and who seek instead the counsel of other fools who tell them what they want to hear. I will tell such people that they are fools. I make the (perhaps incorrect) assumption that they are adults and can handle criticism and perhaps take steps to rectify their ignorance.

    If people choose to try and learn, they will find me one of the most eager to engage and explain. If they refuse to learn, they are not worth my time.

    Don’t like my tone. Fine. Go back to the lunatic asylum Tony “Micro” Watts runs.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Nov 2011 @ 11:17 AM

  282. In #254 John asks:
    Who is Ray Ladbury and why is he allowed to use vulgarities in his self anointed moderating of posters? Seems the skeptics have a point in condemning the “consensus” if he is a part of it.

    I’ve met the man. He’s for real – PhD physicist working for NASA, his specialty as I understand it, is the effect of radiation on electronics. He’s not formally trained at climate science, but takes an intense personal interest in it.

    He can be ascerbic in his comments. I share his frustration in playing whack-a-mole. The need to constantly rebunk the same tired arguments (it’s the sun! CO2 is plant food! The climate always changes, this is nothing new!) wears one down over the years. As the climate continues to change and we collectively do nothing about it, it’s easy to get harsher with people pushing the same tired debunked themes.

    As for your second sentence, if one weighs the scientific accuracy of ‘the consensus’ by whether they like the attitude of one person commenting on them, one is not being a skeptic at all. One is simply looking for an excuse to justify what one wants to believe anyway.

    John, this isn’t like picking a favorite sports team. IE, “I like these guys because of their uniforms.” “I don’t like those guys because one of the players is a jerk” is fine for football teams. Climate science isn’t football, it’s the study of the real world around us. It’s backed by observations and modeled with physics. There is an objective, observable, right and wrong, and the ‘nice’ factor of people commenting on it doesn’t change the physics.

    Comment by David Miller — 25 Nov 2011 @ 11:17 AM

  283. The point is that climate models do not predict the result of any particular attempt at controling climate with public policy.

    The real point is that the purpose of climatologists use of models has little-to-nothing to do with public policy, and is not aimed at “controlling climate”, but understanding it.

    Comment by flxible — 25 Nov 2011 @ 11:33 AM

  284. [Response: This is a discussion about the radaitive forcing of CO2, not the temperature response, and has nothing to do with spatial variations in temperature - whether in the Antarctic or elsewhere. - gavin]

    Did you really think that response out first? How can CO2 radiate without energy to absorb? Wouldn’t the spacial variation of temperature indicate variation of available energy to return?

    [Response: Of course LW radiation depends on temperature, how is that the issue? But the point was about the logarithmic nature of the forcing from CO2 - this has everything to do with pressure broadening, line widths, absorption bands, overlaps etc. and nothing specifically to do what you think the temperature in Antarctica is or should be. - gavin]

    Comment by dallas — 25 Nov 2011 @ 11:43 AM

  285. > this isn’t like picking a favorite sports team. IE,
    > “I like these guys because of their uniforms.”

    Or even because you like or dislike their numbers.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Nov 2011 @ 11:58 AM

  286. #273–

    “. . .the location of the source of the back radiation, the source of the OLR intercepted and the available energy at the source.”

    Perhaps the original thought was coherent. This formulation, alas, isn’t.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 Nov 2011 @ 12:19 PM

  287. #269 Mike Lewis

    The problem is as Gavin pointed out, ‘sciency’ sounding language that is not based in science. These arguments appeal to people that don’t understand the science or do not wish to ‘believe’ the scientists, for a multitude of reasons.

    Often you will see claims made in ‘sciency’ sounding blogs, but these are rarely supported by facts and often when they are, they are supported by facts out of context.

    Try these:

    One Minute Climate Videos

    Global Warming Science Perspectives

    Global Warming Myth Perspectives

    The subject matter is well linked to reputable science sources.

    Current Climate Conditions

    When someone tells you that the effects of CO2 are insignificant or only a tiny fraction… ask them how they know?

    - Did they read really come form a science source, or did it come from a sciency sounding source.

    - And ask yourself, why am I so willing to believe what I just heard or read without understanding the underlying basis for the claim?

    People often choose to believe what they want to hear, rather than that which is based on evidence. This is a very human trait. Luckily science does not work that way. It demands substance rather than preference or whim.

    Would you prefer policy policy be derived based on evidence or whim?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 12:27 PM

  288. #270 David Wright

    This web site discusses economics all the time, just not in the manner you may be thinking as the study of economics pertains to the balance of systems and methods, which of course is a scientific endeavor; even when it is merely applied to the constituents of the atmosphere and climate system.

    Airfoil models have improved over the years just as have climate models.

    Climate is actually a bit more complex than an airfoil (not to belittle the complexities of an airfoil). The ability of models to emulate the properties of the atmosphere and oceans are actually quite extraordinary. To dismiss the results based on the whims of those that simply prefer to dance to the tune of distraction is a mistake many still make.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 12:45 PM

  289. When Climate Deniers Attack!

    Climate deniers are a popular figure in pop culture/entertainment and they are usually portrayed as being brought about through an outbreak or epidemic. Consequently, we model a climate denier attack, using biological assumptions based on popular climate denier movies. We introduce a basic model for climate denier infection, determine equilibria and their stability, and illustrate the outcome with numerical solutions. We then refine the model to introduce a latent period of climate denialism, whereby humans are infected, but not infectious, before becoming undead. We then modify the model to include the effects of possible quarantine or a cure. Finally, we examine the impact of regular, impulsive reductions in the number of climate deniers and derive conditions under which eradication can occur. We show that only quick, aggressive attacks can stave off the doomsday scenario: the collapse of society as climate deniers overtake us all.

    http://mysite.science.uottawa.ca/rsmith43/Zombies.pdf

    Comment by EFS_Junior — 25 Nov 2011 @ 12:48 PM

  290. #277 David Wright

    Your argument is non sequitur and seems generally confused on relevance.

    By the way, it’s pretty easy to predict how plane will generally react to control in puts 200 years later…, the plane will preform pretty much as it does today given the same inputs.

    Also, confrontation is often how opposing arguments are discussed? If not for reasonable confrontation, science would not advance.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 12:57 PM

  291. #279 David Wright

    There may be sides in your context but only because those sides/perspectives are informed from different angles, not all of which are correct of course. The variant degrees of correctness derive from the level of ones knowledge of all related systems.

    The best policy can still be scientifically based when one considers all relevant sciences including physics, socio-economics and geopolitics in relation to economics.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 1:03 PM

  292. Gavin,

    your comment on my point isn’t even an attempt to converse at all – why?

    Any objective reading of the new emails clearly shows that a community within the climate warming scientific arena are in an issue advocacy mode and RC is a integral part of that issue advocacy. Michael Mann even calls it exactly that! It’s almost impossible for any honest appraiser to be able to say that the scientists are not now wholly bound up in a political ‘movement’. Your comment is exactly the kind of dismissive one finds in the email narratives. That is, treat outsiders as heathens unless they come over to our way of thinking and join ‘the cause’.

    [Response: Your comment was logically nonsensical. My comment merely highlighted that fact. Why you think I need to specifically make an effort to personally persuade you is unclear. Do you think that is a good use of my time? Indeed, your comments indicate that since you think I am some advocate of a 'movement' who cannot be trusted to honestly appraise science, I very much doubt that anything I can say will make the blindest bit of difference to your opinion. That you are wrong on the facts, wrong on my motivations, wrong on the state of the science, and wrong about who is politicising things doesn't seem to hold you back in any way, and me trying to demonstrate it for you is unlikely to affect your prior beliefs (since it will be so much easier for you to dismiss my statements). But I'll give you a chance to persuade me to engage with you - what 'issue advocacy' do you think RC is doing? But be clear to demonstrate that with actual statements from RC that show us advocating for that issue. - gavin]

    Comment by patrioticduo — 25 Nov 2011 @ 1:09 PM

  293. David Miller:

    John, this isn’t like picking a favorite sports team. IE, “I like these guys because of their uniforms.” “I don’t like those guys because one of the players is a jerk” is fine for football teams. Climate science isn’t football

    True, but on the other hand I’d pick the professionals of the Green Bay Packers to beat any Pop Warner team in the country.

    Likewise, I’ll pick professional PhD scientists who specialize in climate research such as those who run Real Climate over a college drop-out like Watts if I’m asked to choose which “side” is more credible.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Nov 2011 @ 1:30 PM

  294. #292 dhogaza

    Excellent analogy!

    FYI for those attending the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco (Dec. 4-9), I have two session topics scheduled as panel presentations and a poster session with 4 posters. We have the big rooms for the panels so bring a friend :)

    The focus will be communication and relevance. These should be very informative discussions and there will be lot’s of room for Q&A.

    U13C: Effectively Communicating Climate Science (How to Address Related Issues) Oral Presentation
    Room 103 (Moscone South) 1:40pm – 3:40pm

    Speakers:

    - Susan J Hassol: Telling the Climate Change Story (Framing & Messaging)
    - John Cook: Effectively Rebutting Climate Misinformation
    - Ed Maibach: Improving the effectiveness of communication about climate science
    - John P. Reisman: Context and Relevance in Climate Communications

    U52A: Climate Confluence Issues (Energy, Environment, Economics, Security)
    Room 104 (Moscone South) 10:20am – 12:20pm

    Speakers:

    - Christopher B. Field: Ecosystem and Food Security in a Changing Climate
    - U.S. Navy Task Force Climate Change
    - Guy Brasseur: Projected Climate Changes and Regional Security
    - John P. Reisman: Overview of Climate Confluence Security Issues

    U11B Title: Effectively Communicating Climate Science (How to Address Related Issues) I Posters
    Posters: Halls A-C 8am 0 12:20pm

    http://www.johnreisman.com/events/5/agu-fall-meeting-2011/

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 1:50 PM

  295. #292 patrioticduo

    The RC site is dedicated to the science. What it means to policymakers is a different subject. And while the two are connected in that policy which is best is that policy which is based on what is well understood vs. the whim of political preferences, RC rightfully focuses on the science itself.

    This is not unreasonable. And when I or anyone else strays the conversation to distraction, moderation is a reasonable response.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 2:06 PM

  296. #286 – Mr. Reisman,

    Thank you for the links – I will review the information. Not to sound flip but is the science backing those links peer reviewed? It seems that every claim has a counterclaim and even the science itself is being revised as we speak:

    http://www.princeton.edu/~nurban/pubs/lgm-cs-uvic.pdf

    I would hope to engage in civil discussions about the science but I’m finding the environment here a bit stifling. Comments are moderated out and my character is called into question. When I state that AGW is a hypothesis and I’m told that “it’s not a hypothesis but rather a prediction of a very successful model..” and “(h)ow do you hope to understand the science when you don’t even know what the theories are?”, it tends to damper my enthusiasm.

    There are Nobel laureates (e.g. Dr. Ivan Giaever) who question whether or not the evidence is incontrovertible. It seems that there should at least be room for discussion.

    Comment by Mike Lewis — 25 Nov 2011 @ 2:06 PM

  297. 245 eric: Andy Revkin is at it again:
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/25/study-finds-limited-sensitivity-of-climate-to-co2/#preview
    Study Finds Limited Sensitivity of Climate to CO2

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 25 Nov 2011 @ 2:46 PM

  298. re. #294

    Oops, forgot the dates:

    Posters:
    - Date: 05-Dec-2011; Session Time: 8:00 AM – 12:20 PM
    - Location: Halls A-C (Moscone South)

    Effectively Communicating Climate Science
    - Date: 05-Dec-2011; Session Time: 1:40 PM – 3:40 PM
    - Location: Room 103 (Moscone South)

    Climate Confluence Issues (Energy, Environment, Economics, Security)
    - Date: 09-Dec-2011; Session Time: 10:20 AM – 12:20 PM
    - Location: Room 104 (Moscone South)

    http://www.johnreisman.com/events/5/agu-fall-meeting-2011/

    [Response: Outstanding John. Many thanks for your efforts to organize these sessions.--Jim]

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 2:56 PM

  299. John Reisman:
    “Climate is actually a bit more complex than an airfoil”
    I agree fully. Climate is many orders of magnitude more complex than an airfoil. That’s a basis of the argument that climate models are not ready for use in fomenting broad reaching public policy.

    [Response: Not logically it isn't. First the science doesn't depend only on models. Second, policy doesn't depend only on science--it depends also on potential risk to society. The complexity of a model, concept or analysis has no necessary connection to it's usefulness to making policy. I'm also curious why you use the word "foment", which has negative connotations.--Jim]

    Policymakers often stretch the truth beyond morecognition when attempting to enact policy. I think scientists should speak up when policymakers make statements that stretch science beyond what it actually says. That’s especially true when their research uses public funding. Unfortunately, the experts in this field too often stand in silence and allow folks like Al Gore to persuade the public that “the science” is consistent with their often outragious claims.

    [Response: Scientists do often speak up when policymakers stretch the truth. This has no necessary connection to where they get their funding. And Al Gore has been much more right than wrong in the sum of his statements.--Jim]

    “By the way, it’s pretty easy to predict how plane will generally react to control in puts 200 years later…, the plane will preform pretty much as it does today given the same inputs.”
    I think you misunderstood the analogy. One reason that it takes a lot more practice to fly a 747 than a cessna skyhawk is that the control response is very “laggy” in a larger plane. Pilots learn to stay two minutes “ahead of the plane” because the large ones do not turn on a dime. If one were to attempt to fly a 747 like the skyhawk, the plane would be in the ground in short order. In terms of controlling warming by regulating CO2, our climate has a lag time of more than a lifetime, making it physically impossible for any human policymaker to control. Our nation is not as old as the lag time.

    [Response: You are arguing against yourself on that one. The inertia of the climate is a strong reason for not putting it into a harmful state.--Jim]

    Comment by David Wright — 25 Nov 2011 @ 3:06 PM

  300. 283, flxible: The real point is that the purpose of climatologists use of models has little-to-nothing to do with public policy, and is not aimed at “controlling climate”, but understanding it.

    That would make more sense if climate scientists did not cite the results of model runs in their Congressional testimony in support of public policies.

    [Response: That would be like sort of like playing shortstop without your glove.--Jim]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 25 Nov 2011 @ 3:23 PM

  301. #s 281 & 282 and Gavin’s earlier response @ 269 to the “two sides”
    Nice summaries. By profession I’m a geologist and I also have a deep personal and professional interest in climate change issues, which is why I enjoy the RC site. As a geologist I can verify the climate has changed over geologic time…and if you have listened to a Richard Alley presentation, the “control knob” is CO2 (http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml). I can also say the fact that climate has changed over geologic time is largely irrelevant because we live here and now. We don’t live in the Cretaceous.
    Geoscientists use models routinely to predict geochemical reactions and groundwater transport in three dimensions, among other things, but that’s what I’m most familiar with and the statement that all models are wrong but some can be useful is another good summary. However, no model can help you if you don’t understand the fundamental science at work, in the case of geochemistry/transport modeling; mineralogy, geochemistry and geohydrology. It is clear from several of the posts that there is a failure to understand either how science works or the fundamentals involved in climate science. Thanks for all the work RC does to keep focused on the science!

    [Response: Great point. A strong argument could be made that the biggest problem with public understanding of any complex science is the misunderstanding of the various functions and purposes of models. Not everything is readily explainable.--Jim]

    Comment by Tokodave — 25 Nov 2011 @ 3:39 PM

  302. David Wright: “By the way, it’s pretty easy to predict how plane will generally react to control in puts 200 years later…, the plane will perform pretty much as it does today given the same inputs.”
    I think you misunderstood the analogy. One reason that it takes a lot more practice to fly a 747 than a cessna skyhawk is that the control response is very “laggy” in a larger plane. Pilots learn to stay two minutes “ahead of the plane” because the large ones do not turn on a dime. If one were to attempt to fly a 747 like the skyhawk, the plane would be in the ground in short order. In terms of controlling warming by regulating CO2, our climate has a lag time of more than a lifetime, making it physically impossible for any human policymaker to control. Our nation is not as old as the lag time.

    [Response: You are arguing against yourself on that one. The inertia of the climate is a strong reason for not putting it into a harmful state.--Jim]
    Good point…sort of like putting a 747 into a stall at 300 feet and hoping for the best, eh?

    Comment by Tokodave — 25 Nov 2011 @ 3:52 PM

  303. There is one thing I don’t understand. If models are driving public policy why is the Canadian government ( I am ashamed don’t worry ) actively raising CO2 levels with the tar sands obsenity.
    The models all say don’t do it.

    Comment by John McManus — 25 Nov 2011 @ 4:01 PM

  304. #298 David Wright

    The key here is to realize that you are committing the same mistake as many policymakers and I still find your statements convoluted.

    I think scientists should speak up when policymakers make statements that stretch science beyond what it actually says. That’s especially true when their research uses public funding.

    Here you muddle scientists should speak up and ‘true when research uses public funding. Policymakers don’t do the research of course and scientists trying to stretch the truth can’t last too long in the science community as claims are processed through peer response. The cream rises to the top with more eyes on the evidence and that which is unsubstantial often dies on the vine.

    Unfortunately, the experts in this field too often stand in silence and allow folks like Al Gore to persuade the public that “the science” is consistent with their often outragious claims.

    RC did point out errors in the Al Gore movie. At the same time, he did at least generally get it right. And some very knowledgeable scientists that understand the complexity very well do appear in congressional testimonies in order to help correct misunderstandings.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/al-gores-movie/

    Al Gore generally gets the implications right though. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have scientists clarify the lack of scientific founding that come from claims presented by those that don’t get it generally right?

    One reason that it takes a lot more practice to fly a 747 than a cessna skyhawk is that the control response is very “laggy” in a larger plane.

    Re ‘staying ahead of the plane’. I am also a pilot. I was trained to stay 10 minutes ahead of the plane. Your analogy still suffers somewhat from the timing involved.

    In terms of controlling warming by regulating CO2, our climate has a lag time of more than a lifetime, making it physically impossible for any human policymaker to control. Our nation is not as old as the lag time.

    This is a great example of how you yourself misunderstand the science. The response time has attribution within decades based on the total RF increase. Your claiming that it is more than a lifetime is not scientifically substantial. Do you have a citation of a paper that has survived peer review/response to back your assertion? Or, more likely, is it that you heard or read it on some blog that sounded ‘sciency’ to you.

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/radiative-climate-forcing

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/earths-radiation-budget

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/attribution

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/feedbacks

    Either way, there is not a 200 year lag time in control response to a given input in a 747, while in flight; your analogy is just weak. On top of that, you are essentially saying that we must plan ahead for risks, similar to if the 747 you are flying is headed for a collision with a mountain, you have to turn it long before you get there.

    So what you are really saying is that based on the scientific evidence, modeled and real time (thermal limits on crops, droughts, fire, flooding, storm intensity and soil moisture content changes), we need to start mitigating the impact potentials of CO2 now in order to prevent hitting something that predictably will harm us.

    re. #297 Jim.

    Thank you. I wrote both sessions: FYI Don Wuebbles organized bringing in Susan, John and Ed. I organized the security panel. Hope to see you there.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 4:02 PM

  305. #301 Tokodave

    I’d like to second Jim’s statement.

    I seriously doubt humans could enjoy the climate of the end-p, while we still hear claims of CO2 has been higher in the past.

    It remains a false argument that people are still willing to ‘believe’ supports the notion that we should do nothing about current emissions.

    Two memes survive to this day. Anything but CO2, and anything that reduces personal cognitive dissonance so we can all feel warm and fuzzy while we fly our 747 into increasing impact potentials.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 4:08 PM

  306. re: 300

    Septic Matthew: “That would make more sense if climate scientists did not cite the results of model runs in their Congressional testimony in support of public policies.”

    What policies? Which scientists? What testimony? And (most importantly) why not? We deal with the life around us with the tools we have.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 25 Nov 2011 @ 4:38 PM

  307. The stimulus is off topic, but your logic makes no sense. Information gained from models in epidemiology, economics, weather forecasting, ENSO forecasting, fisheries, tides, celestial mechanics, population, demography, etc. are used to inform policy decisions at all sorts of levels.

    ….

    Seeing how stimulus is economics in practice, it’s on topic: the problem with basing policy on admittedly incomplete models.

    Look around at how teh ‘stimulus’ worked out. IT’s simliar to Hansen’s 1988 forecasts for the current temperature anamoly.

    We’ve wasted a trillion dollars on a model that gives, as Dr Ladbury notes, some insight into the past but not much to base future policy on. Fortunately, we didn’t wast trillions on incomplete climate models.

    [Response: Since you aren't getting the point at all, here is a question for you: Please explain how are you so sure that without the stimulus it would not have been much worse? Such a claim must involve some kind of model, no? - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 25 Nov 2011 @ 4:41 PM

  308. re:299
    Davis Wright said, “That’s especially true when their research uses public funding.”

    That makes no sense. What possible significance — beyond the sophistical — does the funding have? The statements are true or false independent of the funds.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 25 Nov 2011 @ 4:43 PM

  309. #303–”If models are driving public policy. . .”

    Clearly a counterfactual premise.

    Sadly.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 Nov 2011 @ 5:02 PM

  310. #298 David Wright

    Interesting that natural variation of climate forcing also contradicts your assertion that:

    In terms of controlling warming by regulating CO2, our climate has a lag time of more than a lifetime, making it physically impossible for any human policymaker to control.

    A great example would be the Maunder Minimum which is indicated to have had significant impacts that affected humans within the span of a single lifetime, and that was a change of only around -0.1 W/m2 RF:

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/maunder-minimum

    Or are you also arguing that natural variation does not impact or alter climate?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 5:12 PM

  311. Mike Lewis,
    OK. How would you have us tell you that you simply don’t know what the hell you are talking about?

    Last time I looked, the count of Ivan Giaever’s output in climate science was zero. He’s a fricking condensed matter guy. Do you go to a protocologist when you have a heart condition?

    As to your reference–the values for sensitivity are well within the range of possibilities considered by mainstream climate science. The advance here is that they seem to avoid the high-end tail that plagues most estimates. That result is critically dependent on their ocean model, though, so time will tell whether it holds up. A climate sensitivity of 2.6 does not argue for complacency.

    Finally, perhaps you would reap more rewards if you devoted your time to learning some of the science you seek to denigrate. RC is an excellent resource for learning about climate science. If you seek to overturn 150 year-old science, you might be happier elsewhere.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Nov 2011 @ 5:23 PM

  312. Number9, OK, let me see if I’ve got this straight. Is it seriously your contention that if the models are wrong, then anthropogenic climate change isn’t occurring? This despite the fact that we have 40 years of warming, trillions of tons of ice melt, warming patterns that look EXACTLY like what we expect from a greenhouse mechanism. This despite the fact that CO2 is a known greenhouse gas and that we have increased CO2 concentration by 40%? This, despite the fact that sea levels are rising and more and more of the planet’s landmass is going into drought–again, just as the models predict?

    Dude, have you really thought this out? Do you really think that if the models are wrong, the problem just goes away? Or, maybe, just maybe, we have no idea how bad the situation is–possibly much worse than the models predict–and we have no way to assess just how hard we must stamp on the brakes to avoid catastrophe?

    Sorry, Punkin, but uncertainty is NOT your friend if you want to do nothing.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Nov 2011 @ 5:55 PM

  313. “An anomalous downward heat flux reduces the ocean surface temperature (and hence global surface temperature), which generates an anomalous heat flux into the ocean from the atmosphere (because the flux into the ocean is related to the difference between atmospheric and ocean temperature). And this of course increases total OHC.”

    You might want to rewrite this paragraph. It makes no physical sense. Deep ocean water(~90% of the ocean volume) has a temperature of ~2degC. Heat gets transferred into the deep water in two ways. Primarily, areas where there are upwellings of cold water are exposed to the sun and are heated. The warmed water releases significant amounts of CO2 as it heats up.

    In other areas warm surface waters gradually mix with deeper water. This is a relatively slow process because the warm water perferentially tends to stay on the surface, but storms, wind, and salinity differences all could gradually transfer heat down deeper.

    “an anomalous downward heat flux reduces ocean surface temperature” I presume you are talking about cold air? That could be another avenue of surface mixing. Cold air from thunderstorm downbursts and winds from the arctic areas would cool the water surface relative to warmer areas and tend to cause top-down mixing.

    [Response: You have completely misunderstood the comment. The anomalous flux being referred to is purely within the ocean - between the upper ocean and the deeper ocean. None of your conclusions follow. - gavin]

    This is a good time to point out that once heat has gotten into the deep ocean(raising the temperature from 1.8 deg.C to perhaps 1.82 deg. C) there is no mechanism to “retrieve” the heat once the cold, deep water upwells to the surface. Cold water can’t transfer heat to warmer air. At best the slightly warmer deep water will absorb less heat from the surface air resulting in slightly warmer air temps than otherwise.

    Comment by George M — 25 Nov 2011 @ 6:33 PM

  314. #296 Mike Lewis

    Nothing flip about your question at all. The majority of the information presented has survived peer review as you will see from the source links.

    I know that in one of my ‘Natural Cycle’ video. There is still a debate regarding acceleration. I may be wrong on that point even though the data indicates that there ‘may’ be an acceleration.

    I should probably actually change the video narration, but I’m short on time these days. However, there is a chance there is at least a short term acceleration component. Keep in mind if emissions were reduced the system would likely begin working toward a new thermal equilibrium.

    The frustration level you may be experiencing is likely due to multiple factors.

    - many of the memes presented are old rehashed arguments that have not survived peer review/response
    - both the scientists and the regular RC posters are quite familiar with the false logic arguments presented by others and where the substantial science is that refutes such assertions.

    Having a nobel prize does not guarantee that anything a person says is trustworthy

    When you say that AGW is a hypothesis you are in fact incorrect. A hypothesis, or a tentative hypothesis indicates the very beginning stages of the idea. Climate science has so many eyes on it and is now considered a mature science. Form Fourier in 1824 to Arrhenius in 1896 claiming that adding CO2 to the atmosphere should cause global warming.

    The current status of the science is that multiple lines of evidence from multiple fields indicate we are on a warming trend and there is human attribution in the physics and the observations. Then you can add models to top it all off just to increase confidence. But in fact you do not need models to show the human fingerprint on current warming.

    So don’t feel put off by the direct nature of rebuttal to relatively immature points that you are making, which are largely based on speculation rather than science.

    Imagine you are in a classroom. The teachers job is not to coddle you. The teachers job is to impress correct information upon you.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 25 Nov 2011 @ 6:34 PM

  315. Why do I get the impression that (aside from the dismembered bleatings on the internet of a bunch of tinfoilhatters who now look even more like such to the point that Watts has to try and convince everyone it’s spectacular by putting the word ‘spectacular’ in a headline) this story’s dead on its legs already, and everyone’s seen it for the attempt to derail an international summit that it is?

    Comment by J Bowers — 25 Nov 2011 @ 6:35 PM

  316. Only one side to the science, however, there are different branches of thought. In general, there is the positive feedback side that are in the majority, and therefore can be considered the ruling party. Then there is the negative feedback side that are in the minority.

    The positive feedback side has the following attributes:
    =CO2 is the “control knob”
    =Any change in the CO2 concentration, is accompanied by a larger change in condensable water vapour. See Clausius–Clapeyron relation
    =Humans are causing most of the recent global warming
    =Humans will interrupt and overwhelm the interglacial cycles

    The negative feedback side has the following attributes:
    =CO2 only plays a minor role in climate
    =The Clausius–Clapeyron relation does not relate specifically to CO2 forcing, or to the climate system as a whole, it is just a component. In a system, temperature can change as a function of negative feedback
    =That humans are causing most of the recent global warming is not tenable. It is just as likely due to natural variability
    =Humans will not interrupt and overwhelm the interglacial cycles. These cycles are millions of years in the making. They are well constrained and therefore tend to be in a stable state within set orbital points.

    [Response: Unfortunately, your 'other side' compounds demonstrably false facts (point 1), truisms (point 2), incorrect logic (point 3) and untenable conclusions (point 4). Apart from that, you're good. - gavin]

    Comment by Isotopious — 25 Nov 2011 @ 6:41 PM

  317. @Isotopius

    Exactly right. In the same category as the following

    1) Flat-Earthers vs. Spherists
    2) Creationism/ID vs. Evolution
    3) Geocentrists vs. Heliocentrists
    4) Iron-Core Sun movement vs. everybody else

    In all these categories you have an antithesis between science and anti-science. If that is what you meant, you are right on.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 25 Nov 2011 @ 7:24 PM

  318. John:
    “Or are you also arguing that natural variation does not impact or alter climate?”

    It’s been said many times by climatologists that the heat is in the pipeline, that even if we cease producing CO2 today, the planet will continue to warm for a couple hundred years or more.

    Whether or not natural variation is the dominant driver today, as it was yesterday, then given the time lag involved you will never know if your attempt at mitigation had any effect at all. You might just as easily do harm. Without something to correlate control and response, there really is no control.

    [Response: Err... hence the need to be conservative with the composition of the atmosphere, no? - gavin]

    Comment by David Wright — 25 Nov 2011 @ 8:58 PM

  319. date: Mon Feb 28 08:58:57 2005
    from: Phil Jones
    subject: Re: CCSP report review period
    to: Ben Santer

    Ben,

    Good to see you if briefly last Wednesday ! The rest of the meeting was rather odd. Some very odd things said by a few people – clearly irked by not having got a couple of proposals recently ! I’m not supposed to be contacting you ! I would urge you to write up what you presented on the day and in the report. It was the most convincing presentation and chapter of the report. You should have less to do than the other chapters. Not yet sure how the summary will fare.
    We didn’t discuss the email evidence (as you put it) nor Pielke’s dissent. We shouldn’t and we won’t if the NRC people have their way.

    I was never really sure what the point of the review was.

    Cheers

    Phil

    This isn’t science. This is collusion.

    [Response: Collusion to improve the quality of the technical literature? Quel horreur! - gavin]

    Comment by Jryan — 25 Nov 2011 @ 9:02 PM

  320. @Jryan

    Similar to the way that industrial competitors “colude” to improve safety procedures or maintenance techniques or anything that is good for the whole industry.

    You really do not know how science or any field for what matters progresses and evolves…Trial and lot’s of errors and the corrections and then other errors.. [edit - enough name-calling]

    Comment by DrTskoul — 25 Nov 2011 @ 9:29 PM

  321. David Wright, Er, so if I see myself bearing down on a semi at 60 mph on a snowy road, I shouldn’t use the brakes because I won’t know for a few seconds whether they’ll stop me in time? Fricking brilliant logic, that.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Nov 2011 @ 9:38 PM

  322. @Jryan

    You really do not know how progress in any field is achieved, do you? And I am certain you do not care. Therefore enough-said. If you think you see pink elefants and green martiants too, there is not much science can do.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 25 Nov 2011 @ 9:39 PM

  323. There is still something odd about the link to Mann and Jones 2003 back in Response to 11. Did you mean Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia?

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 25 Nov 2011 @ 9:46 PM

  324. “…They are well constrained and therefore tend to be in a stable state within set orbital points.”

    how is that untenable? It’s completely tenable. It has all the hallmarks of a stable, negative feedback system.

    For the undecided here is a comparison between interglacial cycles:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Vostok_420ky_4curves_insolation.jpg

    …And an ECG:

    http://www.eng.utah.edu/~jnguyen/ecg/bigecg.gif

    The cardiac cycle represents a stable system. I’ll let you decide if you think Earth displays similar characteristics.

    Comment by Isotopious — 25 Nov 2011 @ 9:55 PM

  325. David Wright, you have made the point that there is no point explaining things to you. You are in denial, and essentially denying that there is such a thing as physics. But whether you think so or not, physics tells that there is a big difference between the climatalogical consequences of burning one trillion tons of carbon and burning two tons.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:03 PM

  326. Number9 @307: “Look around at how teh ‘stimulus’ worked out. IT’s simliar to Hansen’s 1988 forecasts for the current temperature anamoly.”
    It seems to me that Hansen’s Scenario B was not that far out. Are you getting your information from denialist sites that concentrate on Scenario A, the one that he thought was unrealistic?

    The extracts of the e-mails I’ve seen so far strike me as being rather banal, especially after the context is explained. I think the e-mails flying back and forth elsewhere a few weeks ago might be far more interesting in a gossip column kind of way, not that they would add to the science.

    Comment by Richard Simons — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:11 PM

  327. err make that one trillion tons vs two trillion or one trillion vs just one ton or … well you know the point. (even you DW, admit it or not)

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:21 PM

  328. Ray Ladbury says:
    “warming patterns that look EXACTLY like what we expect from a greenhouse mechanism.”

    Actually, stratospheric cooling stopped around ’93. Somehow, ~-0.1 W/m2 forcing is counteracting it (since 2000 ~-0.2 prior). Aerosol climatic cooling has the opposite fingerprint as GHG climatic warming, btw.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/msu/
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6044/866.abstract

    Here’s the problem: CO2 in 2000=~365 and 2010=~390, so, 5.35 x ln(390/365) = ~0.35 W/m2. How does ~-0.1 counter ~0.35?

    Hint: 1) ozone depletion is estimated to be negative though there’s both + and – factors(another net ~-0.15 W/m2), 2) I use “~” for approximately so the values aren’t exacts, 3) there’s a myriad of other forcings both + and -, 4) lags in the system (thermal inertia), and 5) internal variability. (There might be more reasons, I’m not a climatologist.)

    Why bring this up? When you say “it looks exactly like we expect”, someone might actually go look up what you mean by that and then see stratospheric trend flat-lining and think, well, that’s that, GW over. While I don’t agree with “mitigation” at this time, it’s not because I don’t “believe” (lol) in GW but rather am unsure if the cure wouldn’t be worse than the disease.

    [Response: MSU-4 (TLS) is dominated by trends in ozone, not CO2. CO2 effects are much more clearly seen higher up (in the stratospheric sounding unit (SSU) or radiosonde data). See papers by Bill Randall on this topic. With stabilisation of strat ozone levels, MSU4 should be expect to flatten out and with ozone recovery, will start to rise again. There are also volcanic and solar effects of course. - gavin]

    Comment by John West — 25 Nov 2011 @ 10:31 PM

  329. “Response: Err… hence the need to be conservative with the composition of the atmosphere, no? – gavin”

    Since there is no control to the experiment, it’s not possible to conclude that the effect of CO2 emission is harmful at all.

    We have the known positive effect (a big one IMHO)of greater life expectancy and quality of life being sustained through the use of fossil fuel, and really no tangible evidence of a detrimental effect due to use of fossil fuel, so the scale tilts toward the known and against the untestable hypothesis when faced with real world decisions.

    Obviously many climatologists strongly believe we are in grave danger. The evidence of this strong belief is in the tone of the emails and in the emotional responses seen in this blog.

    Given that the world has not hastened to respond to the emotional appeal of climatologists, it appears that the real world is choosing to follow the safer, better known path.

    IMHO, even if you are right, there will be plenty of time for the planet to heal once fossil fuels are replaced by more efficient means.

    Thank you for your time and effort.

    Comment by David Wright — 25 Nov 2011 @ 11:00 PM

  330. “320.David Wright, Er, so if I see myself bearing down on a semi at 60 mph on a snowy road, I shouldn’t use the brakes because I won’t know for a few seconds whether they’ll stop me in time? Fricking brilliant logic, that.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury”

    If there is not really a semi there, and it’s only a reflection in your mirror, then yes, it may be dangerous to slam on your brakes.
    Again, you assume a semi, I see an open road. IT’s a state of mind, and we both have beliefs. Your’s are just not as fun or productive.
    Bye now…thanks again.

    [Response: Hm, this analogy has a few problems ... but insofar as an analogy goes, there is no question about the semi whatsoever. The debate is how big, how far away, and whether we're talking head on collision of merely knocking off the mirrors, not whether it is there. As an aside, I once saw a car lose both mirrors at once -- on against the car on its left, and the other on the stone bridge wall on the right. Those narrow European bridges are not for the faint of heart. ;) --eric]

    Comment by David Wright — 25 Nov 2011 @ 11:05 PM

  331. @ Mr. Reisman – Thank you for a reasonable answer.

    @ Dr. Ladbury – How have I denigrated the science? By pointing out that not everyone agrees with your viewpoint about it? Should I not believe what Dr. Roy Spencer has to say about the science? He is a climate scientist who would disagree with you. The question remains of how the feedbacks have been affected by our pollutants. Perhaps you’ve published a paper on this matter? No, I didn’t think so.

    Comment by Mike Lewis — 25 Nov 2011 @ 11:27 PM

  332. On a snowy road, you don’t switch from the gas pedal to the brakes — you take your foot off the gas, _maybe_ shift gears, and think about where the other guy will slide to if _he’s an idiot and steps on his brakes.

    If he does, when _he_ spins out, aim straight at where he is. Odds are by the time you’ve reached that spot, one of his wheels will have gotten traction and his vehicle will have lurched off in some random direction, with luck not toward you. If you aim to go either side of where he’s spinning, it’s 50/50 likely he’ll move into your path. If you aim right at that spot, most of the directions he could go take him out of your way.

    Ambulance driver taught me that.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:01 AM

  333. David Wright:

    Again, you assume a semi, I see an open road.

    Insists that CO2 lasers don’t work, and that a whole bunch of related physics is bunk. Because that’s what the above amounts to.

    Yet … he’ll step into an airplane.

    Kinda odd, don’t you think?

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:21 AM

  334. David Wright:

    Whether or not natural variation is the dominant driver today, as it was yesterday, then given the time lag involved you will never know if your attempt at mitigation had any effect at all. You might just as easily do harm. Without something to correlate control and response, there really is no control.

    That’s crap. That doesn’t even rise to the typical argument one gets from a two year old …

    You can’t do better than this? Really? Having been exposed as having absolutely no knowledge as to how the GCMs you so despise actually work, showing yourself to be ignorant of much else, besides, you fall back on this crap?

    Thank God I’m not drinking coffee at the moment, the splurging through my nostrils onto my keyboard might’ve led me to insisting you replace my laptop if I’d been doing so …

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:28 AM

  335. #318 David Wright

    Yes, the evidence strongly suggests there is more warming in the pipeline.

    You still seem to misunderstand the basic mechanisms at play.

    Natural variation happens.

    Greenhouse gases keep Earth warm, more means more warm while less means less warm.

    Your last paragraph is confused. To analogize it, we are all in the 747 you referred to and there is a lag time to our actions regarding existing CO2 and future emissions. The plane is still flying whether we change the control inputs or not. More CO2 just means more change.

    In this case natural variation is the normal atmospheric turbulence that a typical flight will encounter over many flights. The additional CO2 scenario analogized just means an increase in the turbulence as in change factors.

    There is no data to suggest that reducing emissions will do more harm though? Or are you aware of some paper you can cite that clearly indicates global warming will not do harm? If so, did it survive peer review/response? Please provide a citation.

    You see your just guessing basically. Ironic that you have a problem with science that does not guess, but rather is based on the systematic examination of evidence.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:30 AM

  336. Mike Lewis:

    Should I not believe what Dr. Roy Spencer has to say about the science?

    Pretty much, yes. He and Christy, 10+ years go, claimed that satellite data showed climate cooling, rather than warming. In fact, they proclaimed it was the “wooden stake through the heart of the global warming hypothesis” and became right-wing darlings as a result, over a decade ago. Of course, they were wong. Others went over their algorithms and discovered errors, including a sign error that would cause a 9th grade algebra student to get marked down on a test. That was just the start of his erroneous efforts.

    When someone’s proven wrong over and over again, smart people stop listening to them.

    Of course the fact that Spencer and Christy both tout their Southern Baptist Evangelical beliefs shouldn’t cause us to immediately reject their scientific work, but given their track record, and Spencer’s endorsement of *creationism* over evolution, and Christy’s stated belief that his evangelical and political beliefs leads him to believe we should help Africans benefit from fossil-fuel exploitation as we’ve done in the developed nations, regardless of global warming concerns, one can ask oneself if their research results are skewed to some extent by their beliefs.

    The track record says “yes”. Prove me wrong …

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:37 AM

  337. David Wright proclaims …

    Since there is no control to the experiment, it’s not possible to conclude that the effect of CO2 emission is harmful at all.

    That since we don’t have a second planet to experiment with, science can’t inform us at all about the effect of CO2 on climate.

    What tosh. What stupidity.

    Wright, you’ve descended into the sub-sub-basement with that comment.

    Of course, the same logic tells us that you can’t guarantee us that raising CO2 in the atmosphere by 10 ppm won’t lead us to Venus next Thursday.

    Are you sure you want to pin your denialism to that? Some might think that the threat you pose might suggest we stop all fossil fuel burning tomorrow, because, you yourself have just said we can’t bound the possible effect.

    Look where anti-science leads you …

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:42 AM

  338. #330 Mike Lewis

    IShould I not believe what Dr. Roy Spencer has to say about the science? He is a climate scientist who would disagree with you. The question remains of how the feedbacks have been affected by our pollutants.

    Roy Spencer is unable to back many assertions he is making; so no, you should not believe Roy Spencer. He makes claims that are not substantiated by the relevant evidence. Spencer often makes claims based on very limited views.

    To believe Spencer is akin analogically to believing a first year medical student that has only read one relevant book vs. a doctor that has much more experience and is not limited in his view to narrowly scoped views based on facts out of context. This has been demonstrated with Spencer on many occasions.

    If you had more knowledge and experience in the science supporting various arguments you would have known that.

    If you really want to present intelligent arguments rather than vague and unsupported claims, you will need to do a lot more reading of the actual science and related debate points with the context of what is and is not supported (that means reading the papers that survive peer response, not just buying into what any scientists says… there has to be supporting evidence). This debate is not one PhD vs another PhD. It’s substantiated evidence vs. unsubstantiated opinion.

    If you choose to believe opinion, then you can not achieve relevant understanding.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:48 AM

  339. #327 David Wright

    IT’s a state of mind, and we both have beliefs. Your’s are just not as fun or productive. Bye now…thanks again.

    Did David just pull a Dunning/Kruger and walk out of the room?

    As Yoda would say, the Dunning/Kruger is strong with this one.

    But he’s not alone…

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:56 AM

  340. #335 dhogaza:

    Speaking as a former Evangelical Christian and therefore as one who has some insights based on experience that most do not have (and as one who has no disrespect for those previously held beliefs and no disrespect for those who hold those beliefs), I share the following since I think that it’s a good idea to understand why people argue the way they do when it is possible to understand why they do, and since I think your implied point is relevant:

    See the Wikipedia article about Roy Spencer:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Spencer_(scientist)

    Quote:

    “Spencer is an advisor to the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation[28] and a signatory to “An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming”.[29]

    The declaration states:

    “We believe Earth and its ecosystems – created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence – are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception.”"

    Also see this article:

    http://blog.chron.com/rickperry/2011/09/rick-perry-and-galileo-the-religious-beliefs-behind-global-warming-skepticism/

    Quote:

    “If you have a biblical, Judeo-Christian worldview that sees the earth and its climate system as being designed by an omnipotent God… and sustained by a faithful God who has covenanted to sustain it, then your inclination is to see the climate system as robust, resilient, self-regulating and self-correcting.”

    In other words, we have an insight into why so many – even trained scientists, even trained in the science in question – reject the science in question, whether it is evolutionary science or mainstream climate science. The theology they hold to is so rigid that it has boxed them in such that if either evolutionary science or mainstream climate science is true, then the God they believe in – or at least the type of God they believe in – does not exist.

    What this means is that they can never accept evolutionary science or mainstream climate science – ever.

    And what that means is that it is guaranteed that all arguments they will ever make to try to prove the conclusions they already have will be misapplications of logic and/or mathematics and/or science.

    Because of my aforementioned past experience, it seems clear to me that the vast majority of this rejection of mainstream climate science is merely the taking of the type of logically fallacious thinking that is always there in the arguments against evolutionary science and importing it into mainstream climate science rejection: The underlying logical patterns of the arguments are the same.

    And so whenever I am confronted with someone who rejects mainstream climate science, I always ask the person whether he/she also rejects evolutionary science. That person usually objects to the question, claiming that the answer is irrelevant, but based on my experience, I know that the answer is quite relevant, since it gives insight into whether that person could ever accept mainstream climate science.

    Comment by Chombe — 26 Nov 2011 @ 2:40 AM

  341. “Wing designs are not typically tested with a commercial flight full of passengers.”
    “Medical procedures are carefully tested in a controlled environment. They are not released to the public to be tested.” David Wright — 23 Nov 2011 @ 9:09 PM

    Then why are you comfortable with uncontrolled testing of the effects of CO2 on our ONLY planet, currently carrying seven billion passengers?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:33 AM

  342. Further to my comment at #187 and your responses, I have kept looking at sites on both sides of the current “Climategate 2” email issue.

    I made the point that is hard, for a layman, not to have a negative response to some of the excerpts – even though we have accepted that these are taken out of context and we do not know the full background to many of the “highlights”.

    Looking, for instance, at the specific accusation that there appears to be an “inner circle” that have undue influence over the IPCC, politicians, scientific journals, etc, then based on a number of the emails, there looks to me, at least, like there is a case to answer.

    There are a number of excerpts where individuals write to each other and state within the email that they shouldn’t be talking to each other. There are instances where, realistically, the only inference that can be drawn is that one “group” is working to block the publications of people with an alternative point of view. There are examples where individuals express disagreement with another’s work within their group – but don’t question the work publicly – seemingly, solely in order not to provide ammunition to the other side.

    Clearly, none of this means that AGW is happening and isn’t a problem.

    To those who are totally convinced of AGW and the impact on our planet and population, I can see that they would want to do everything to ensure that everyone understood the issues and were totally committed to a clear message being given out – and that, maybe, some ethics may be sacrificed so that the message isn’t diluted.

    I think that this is the problem and is not aided by the comments here on RC. If you read most of the comments from RC contributors (i.e. from those contributors that are natural supporters of RC), I don’t think I have seen one where the conduct of a particular individual is questioned or that the content of any of the emails makes one feel a little uncomfortable.

    Comment by Chris — 26 Nov 2011 @ 5:10 AM

  343. Re #335 dhogaza

    If, for your own entertainment and to demonstrate your ability to put up a convincing argument on any topic, you were asked to to a “hatchet job” on Michael Mann and his work – similar to the job you did in #335 on Spencer – would it, in reality, be any harder to do?

    The problem with this style of writing is that if you decide the outcome and then only present the supporting evidence – you could make the Pope look pretty bad – but it wouldn’t change the mind of any of his followers.

    Comment by James — 26 Nov 2011 @ 6:42 AM

  344. David Wright @ 328,

    We have the known positive effect (a big one IMHO)of greater life expectancy and quality of life being sustained through the use of fossil fuel, and really no tangible evidence of a detrimental effect due to use of fossil fuel, so the scale tilts toward the known and against the untestable hypothesis when faced with real world decisions

    Oh, I don’t know… I think that maybe basing the entire infinite growth based global economic paradigm on a finte resource may yet produce more than a few tangible detrimental effects. The laws of thermodynamics are rather unforgiving…
    And humans have yet to prove they are much smarter than yeast!

    IMHO, even if you are right, there will be plenty of time for the planet to heal once fossil fuels are replaced by more efficient means.

    No doubt! The solar powered photosynthetic cyanobacteria living in the post anthropocene long after the current sixth mass biological extinction will probably have plenty of time to colonize the shallow seas again… They probably won’t even miss us arrogant apes at all!

    Cheers!

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 26 Nov 2011 @ 6:54 AM

  345. RE: Post 318

    “[Response: Err... hence the need to be conservative with the composition of the atmosphere, no? - gavin]”

    No, not necessarily. If trying to control the composition of the atmosphere by reducing the use of fossil fuels has more harmful effects to people and the planet than not trying to control the composition of the atmosphere. Consideration of this trade-off seems to be completely missing.

    Lower economic output, deforestation to plant palm oil for biofuel, land use for biofuel rather than food, higher food costs, greater reliance on nuclear energy and other low carbon measures could easily be more harmful than the unknown effects of an unknown amount of warming. These measures certainly ARE harmful but policymakers seem to ignore this harm, driven by your advocacy, because the alternative will be catastrophic. In addition, these harms must be suffered, irrespective of whether control of the composition of the atmosphere is achieved AND whether that control leads to control of temperatures.

    That seems to me to be not only illogical but also a tragedy.

    [Response: The tragedy here is that your cost benefit analysis has set the cost of climate change to society at exactly zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. One could certainly discuss what the real number is, and what the uncertainty is, but to a priori assume it is zero and with no uncertainty is to greatly underestimate the risk. And since your 'logic' would hold independent of any scientific results, it is clear that even extreme risks would not cause you to change your mind. Thus your framing is guaranteed to give the wrong decision in the face of important consequences of any environmental problem. - gavin]

    Comment by Tony Rogers — 26 Nov 2011 @ 7:09 AM

  346. Tony Rogers, So, what you are saying is that if we approach mitigation in the most stupid way possible, it could be a bad thing? Great. Thanks for the advice.

    How about if we, oh, I don’t know, approach it, maybe, intelligently instead?

    Do things like increase conservation, develop an energy infrastructure that is actually sustainable, have energy resources reflect their true cost (including environmental degradation, national security…), assist rapidly developing countries to develop a sustainable energy infrastructure as well… How are those bad things–particularly since most of them will be essential as we run out of fossil fuels in any case?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Nov 2011 @ 8:18 AM

  347. Mike Lewis,
    If you look at what I said about myself above, I was very clear that I am NOT a contributor to the consensus. I am here to be educated. I would suggest that you would do well to do the same. Part of that is understanding that your instructors (e.g. the staff who contribute to this site) might have learnd something about the atmosphere and climate in the DECADES of researching them.

    As to the case of Roy Spencer, I’m afraid that brings me great sadness. I really think Roy has good intentions. I think he is a smart guy. I think he could contribute something of value to understanding the climate. Unfortunately, he seems to have an idee’ fixe’ that anthropogenic CO2 emissions can’t lead to dangerous warming. If you were to force me to speculate why, I would suggest that perhaps his advocacy of Intelligent Design (not his religion!) colors his judgment. ID is not and cannot be science. The fact that Roy doesn’t understand that astounds me.

    Whatever the reason, Roy is an outlier, one of the 3% of climate scientists outside the consensus. There are a similar number of biologists who don’t believe in evolution or doctors who don’t think smoking is a health hazard. Which side you gonna pick?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Nov 2011 @ 8:33 AM

  348. james #342:

    if [...] you were asked to to a “hatchet job” on Michael Mann and his work – similar to the job you did in #335 on Spencer – would it, in reality, be any harder to do?

    Depends on the audience. I expect you would be an easy mark. Convincing somewhat informed people — including Dhogaza’s own better self — would be a tad harder, which might interfere with the convincingness of the act.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Nov 2011 @ 8:41 AM

  349. @Gavin

    I didn’t do a cost benefit analysis and I didn’t set the cost of climate change at zero. However, proposing that climate change is catastrophic suggests that the costs of climate change trumps anything else. I merely pointed out that the the costs of the mitigation efforts that are being implemented are available to us and seem very high to me.

    [Response: How does only considering the costs and not the avoided costs make any sense? I have nothing against a real cost-benefit analysis - and when those things have been done it is clear that a) many actions are a net benefit (energy efficiency, better design etc), and b) that even a moderate climate change is worth investing to avoid - estimates of the marginal cost of emitting a ton of CO2 range from $20 to $200 or more (i.e. the price it would be worth adding to carbon emissions to account for the negative externalities not currently included in the price). This has nothing to do with 'catastrophes' - though continued unregulated emissions make such things more likely. If using something will cause costs to others, it should be included in the price if you want society to allocate resources effectively - how hard is that to fathom? - gavin]

    Comment by Tony Rogers — 26 Nov 2011 @ 8:41 AM

  350. Ray,

    Wait, an epiphany. They actually believe that even with three more billion people (3,000,000,000) fossil fuels are never going to run out. Remember the inorganic pathway to oil deep down the earth? Nature (c.f. God) will provide!! IMHO we are screwed since there is no way on earth that such a large portion of the population can be convinced on time to actually do something that is completely logical and should have been done in the absence of AGW -> rely on sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture, sustainable industry, since clean water, food, energy are going to become scarce in a world with 10B or more people (short of an avian flu pandemic).

    Wow…their logic is skull-crashing.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 26 Nov 2011 @ 9:04 AM

  351. @Ray

    I’m saying that the mitigation that is actual going on is very stupid.

    It’s all very well to say we should do it intelligently but it isn’t happening. Unintended consequences are everywhere! Putting a price on carbon gives a positive incentive for forests to be cut down and palm oil planted. Providing a massive subsidy for ethanol means 40% of US corn production gets burned in cars, probably/possibly not reducing carbon emissions at all and forcing up the price of food to those than can least afford it. How is that intelligent?

    I am all for wasting less energy. That seems to have few negative consequences (I insulate my house, drive a diesel car and drive few miles). However, a “sustainable energy infrastructure” might just destroy the environment faster than any climate change may do. So far, the benefits of such policies are nil and the costs are mounting.

    Comment by Tony Rogers — 26 Nov 2011 @ 9:07 AM

  352. Just to be clear. By “costs” I am mostly NOT talking about money. I am talking about the consequences to people and the environment, although some of those stem from economic factors such as higher food prices.

    Comment by Tony Rogers — 26 Nov 2011 @ 9:13 AM

  353. Shorter DW @ 329: Physics is “a state of mind.”

    dhogaza @ 335, Chombe @ 339, Yes, sometimes people invent “theological” excuses for their wrongheadedness but this is a property of persons not theology. The latter can work in either direction. google “creation care” and “evolution Sunday.”

    James @ 342, your comment pertains to dhogaza’s style but not to the reality orientedness or not of Spencer, Mann amd dhogaza. Spencer’s problems with reality are covered in part here:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/skeptic_Roy_Spencer.htm

    Inline @ 344: “Thus your framing is guaranteed to give the wrong decision in the face of important consequences of any environmental problem.”

    Congratulations on capturing the essence of denialism.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 26 Nov 2011 @ 9:33 AM

  354. This is one e-mail that is bouncing around for which I have not seen the context

    “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run,” Thorne adds

    [Response: It's a little ambiguous, but the email is discussing the zero order draft of the 2007 IPCC report (i.e. the very first scoping document prior to any review or edits). Thorne actually left a comment up-thread indicating that his comments were taken into account and that he was happy with the final product - which is the point. - gavin]

    Comment by Mark Zimmerman — 26 Nov 2011 @ 9:34 AM

  355. Tony Rogers says:
    “I merely pointed out that the the costs of the mitigation efforts that are being implemented are available to us and seem very high to me.”

    It’s not just that, but, that they’re ineffective as well. I mean really, cap and trade would only put money into carbon traders’ pockets and a carbon tax into the governments’ wasteful hands and would be the most regressive tax ever. I’d rather see a MACT (Maximum Acheivable Control Technology) Standard developed and implemented. A MACT could have the least impact to energy producers while reducing the emissions the most with the added benefit of initiating a manufacturing industry. The CAA (Clean Air Act) has proven the effectivness of such a strategy. Couple that with efficiency improvements (which could also be done through a MACT) and researching alternatives to burning substances that we may want to make plastic bottles out of well into the future.

    Comment by John West — 26 Nov 2011 @ 9:37 AM

  356. In Gavin’s reply to #67:

    “[Response: We said back in 2009 that asking people to delete emails was ill-advised, and that remains the case (as the Muir-Russell report went into in great detail). But there is no legal requirement to keep all emails - govt. agencies and universities general have policies on document retention but they don't mandate universal archiving of emails. Many of them actually suggest regular deletion of non-essential records (e.g. NASA). - gavin]”

    Your reply is incomplete and misses the point that is clearly shown in several emails and is stated by both Briffa and Jones. They were recommending deletion of emails and witholding of data in order to avoid or subvert a legitimate FOI request. Such actions are a criminal offence in FOI law in the UK. The Information Commissioner pointed out during Climategate 1 that there was strong prima facie evidence that an offense had been committed but Jones cannot be charged to test this because there is a limitation of 6 months post the illegal action in which criminal proceedings can be brought – an absurd law if ever there was one, it should be 6 months post the discovery of the offence.

    Furthurmore the current emails clearly show the FOI representative at CRU discussing with Jones who the FOI request is from, even copying the entire request in confidence. FOI requests can only be considered on the merit of the request. It is in offence to take into consideration who is making the request or for what reason and use that as the basis to decide which requests have “merit”. The FOI process is deliberatly intended to be a blind process so as Jones et al DO NOT have a say in whether a request has merit.

    Not being able to bring criminal proceedings due to poorly drafted legislation is entirely different to being found not guilty of something after having to face criminal proceedings.

    Comment by ThinkingScientist — 26 Nov 2011 @ 9:40 AM

  357. I found the Thorne comment already addressed by mediamatters. thanks for all you do here

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201111220024?frontpage

    Comment by Mark Zimmerman — 26 Nov 2011 @ 9:58 AM

  358. @ 348 Gavin: “If using something will cause costs to others, it should be included in the price if you want society to allocate resources effectively – how hard is that to fathom? – gavin]”

    For some it is almost impossibly hard. Consider some words – effectively, empathy. [psychopath, sociopath are not nice words to use but empathy can be used in their place as follows]
    Empathy is now becoming a measurable personality variable. From what I recall it is as yet only measured in quintiles – upper fifth down to lower fifth. But of course some people will be the lowest of the low. The lowest 1 percent in the USA number over 3 million persons. Think about this in relation to incentives and ways and means of moving into positions of power, influence and great wealth. Might low empathy types be overrepresented among the powerful?

    In any case Gavin’s “effectively” just does not compute for some people. For others, decades of verbal bullying by talk radio and other “conservative” sources has drummed the ability to think of others out of their socio-political thoughts yet they retain the potential to be better.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 26 Nov 2011 @ 10:08 AM

  359. Tony Rogers,
    Horsepuckey! You seem to be contending that humans are too stupid to mitigate intelligently. Personally, I think the majority are just too stupid to see the value in intelligent mitigation.

    Sustainability includes maintaining and even extending the lungs of the planet (e.g. rainforests). Your objection reminds me of the old vaudeville routine where the patient raises his arm in an awkward way and says,”Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” The doctor replies, “Don’t do that.” What we are seeing now is policy driven by politics rather than science. The science is giving very clear direction:
    1)Reduce consumption as much as possible consistent with maintaining a decent quality of life AND a declining fertility rate in developing nations
    2)Find alternatives to fossil fuels for industrial, quotidien and transportation uses that are truly sustainable (including causing limited environmental damage.
    3)More research and measurement (esp. satellite coverage) to see how deep we are in the soup
    4)Monitor like hell
    5)Leave the fricking coal, tar sands and oil shale in the ground where it is sequestering carbon.
    6) Emphasize sustainable energy resources over one-time usable resources.
    7)Educate people about the science so they can make intelligent choices wrt their daily lives and their leaders.
    8) Ensure all products reflect their full environmental cost–including environmental, security, etc.

    What, specifically do you object to there?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Nov 2011 @ 10:13 AM

  360. #344 Tony Rogers

    Reality can disturb a belief which is one of the primary reasons that belief is often favored over reality.

    Like it or not google:

    field.pdf “Climate Science and the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations”

    We need to weigh the cost benefit ratios, or ignore them to our detriment.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 10:26 AM

  361. #348 Tony Rogers

    To reiterate and rephrase what Gavin already said, excluding the cost of doing nothing in a cost benefit analysis invalidates your claim that ‘it seems very high to you’.

    The numbers now clearly indicate that the costs of increased emissions are increasing, not decreasing. Continued CO2 emission rise will invariably increase costs. There fore the cost of doing nothing can qualitatively be assessed to outweigh the benefits of doing nothing.

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge/2011/nov-the-leading-edge

    There is also a great video from ABC news with an interview of Richard Somerville answering questions.

    #350 Tony Rogers

    However, a “sustainable energy infrastructure” might just destroy the environment faster than any climate change may do. So far, the benefits of such policies are nil and the costs are mounting.

    This is truly mind-boggling logic. So a non sustainable energy infrastructure is the answer?

    #351 Tony Rogers

    But it all translates to money, so you can say your NOT talking about money but in fact you ARE talking about money and every other related cost… loss of living standards, loss of productivity; and of course increased costs in food and water and related socioeconomic costs.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 10:49 AM

  362. Chris @ 341

    “I think that this is the problem and is not aided by the comments here on RC.”

    Or maybe the problem is that too many people these days think they can get by evaluating issues simply by weighing what “he said” against what “she said”. This is insufficient on just about any topic and especially so in science. It is very lazy and only opens the door for all kinds of emotional misdirection. In science it’s all about the science. You have to dig around in it a little and get your hands dirty with the actual logic, math, method, and culture. This wouldn’t be a big deal in an educated society that wasn’t dumbed down for the peddling of tabloid crap.

    The closest comparison I can think of off hand, outside of science, would be meticulous hygiene in legal chain of custody. But you never really hear that discussed in tabloid blather either. Really. People need to just grow up. Science is hard. You have to deal with it. There are helps. However, you can lead a horse to water… Not helpful? You can lead a horse to water… but not helpful? You can lead a horse to water but…

    Comment by Radge Havers — 26 Nov 2011 @ 10:53 AM

  363. I bet none of you do ;)… but I’m seeing some parallels between what these emails show to have transpired to what very likely had similarly occurred in its time at the Council of Carthage in 397AD.

    Back then, various experts in the field got together, looked at all the literature and what was published, and came out with their final rendering which became “THE” understanding of the Canon of Scripture.

    I know many scientists who have needled about what would have happened if an alternative conclusion were to have come out of that Council at Carthage, and who have theorized that the very existence of disagreement in and of itself is enough to dismiss the whole thing. Fortuately for the Council of Carthage, very little (if anything) remains to describe any sort of controversy or uncertainty with regard to what went on in those meetings.

    It seems like the IPCC has participated similarly as a council, canonizing the current undestanding of the science as it relates to policy. These emails give an eye into the sausage-making that goes on prior to the pronouncements.

    At some point, issues of great importance is going to need a ‘council’ of some sort to put matters to rest.

    It certainly seems beneficial to the Council at Carthage that little remains of intra-council disagreement. Would the essence of scientific pursuit be better off if none of these emails ever made the light of day? Or is it stronger because if it?

    Comment by Salamano — 26 Nov 2011 @ 10:58 AM

  364. Unreality alert: comments keep referring to the alleged cost of something called “mitigation” as if there were no alternative energy sources available. “Mitigation” means

    Stop burning carbon. Leave it in the ground. Use non carbon energy.

    Day after day there are advances in lower alternative energy costs and improved technology. There has been no financial reason not to deploy alternative energy for some time. There may appear to be because all the costs of burning carbon are not included in the acknowledged price.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:12 AM

  365. Eric:
    “Hm, this analogy has a few problems … but insofar as an analogy goes, there is no question about the semi whatsoever. The debate is how big, how far away, and whether we’re talking head on collision of merely knocking off the mirrors, not whether it is there. As an aside, I once saw a car lose both mirrors at once — on against the car on its left, and the other on the stone bridge wall on the right. Those narrow European bridges are not for the faint of heart. ;) –eric]”

    Good morning!
    Any analogy will have deficiencies. Your comment (and many of the more emotionally charged arguments seen here) still assumes that “there is a semi bearing down”, and that “we are treading on thin ice” when it is entirely possible that additional CO2 will be beneficial. I don’t expect to convince anyone here otherwise, there are obviously deep seeded fears and beliefs in place.

    The semi bearing down is a belief, same as my belief that life on earth is getting much better since the last ice age, and based upon the current trend, it will likely continue to do so for a long while to come.

    Comment by David Wright — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:15 AM

  366. Chris@341,
    OK. I realize that you are a layman, but does that mean you have to be an utterly uninformed layman? There are plenty of excellent resources out there you could read to educate yourself on the history and basics of the issue. You can find them at the “Start Here” link upper left tab on this website. I particularly recomment Spencer Weart’s History of global warming. When you read this and other work by scientists, you will find that this the concept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas is hardly new or revolutionary. It’s been known since the 1950s.

    Likewise, it’s been known that our burning fossil fuel would raise Earth’s temperature since 1896–115 years!

    Can you maybe see why scientists aren’t keen on work that purports to overturn over a century of progress in science that underlies a very successful theory of Earth’s climate?

    Look, the way science works is as follows. A bunch of really smart, opinionated and often only marginally socialized people (mostly guys) look at various aspects of a phenomenon they are studying. They try to interpret what they see and eventually publish it. Then they get together and argue about it until they come to a better understanding, and go back and look into it more deeply. Repeat. And the thing is that it works. It works despite the fact that the people involved are people–with rivalries, foibles and frailties as well as intelligence and insight. It is not necessary that the people involved be saints, or like each other, or all be brilliant or even that they all be honest. You keep asking Nature questions, and she keeps giving you consistent answers. You make a mistake, she corrects you–sometimes none too gently.

    Given this, do you really think that after a century and a half of research, the scientists are so utterly clueless that would (or even could) resort to lies and subterfuge to give an illusion of progress? If you do, then you really don’t understand science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:20 AM

  367. Salamano,
    The Council of Nicea succeeded in part because the Roman emperor had dissident bishops killed on the way to the council. This not only decreased the amount of dissent, it had a salutory effect on cooperation.

    If you think the IPCC has anything like the power of a Roman emperor, you are sadly deluded. The IPCC does not define consensus. Instead, it tries to reflect the consensus to be found in the technical literature. Surveys indicate (e.g. Bray and von Storch 2008) that most climate scientists are satisfied with the job they do.

    Maybe you ought to consult reality before forming your theories.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:25 AM

  368. Any context here would be very useful:
    http://climategate2011.blogspot.com/2011/11/2743txt.html

    Mike Mann:
    “Meanwhile, I suspect you’ve both seen the latest attack against his Yamal work by McIntyre.
    Gavin and I (having consulted also w/ Malcolm) are wondering what to make of this, and
    what sort of response—if any—is necessary and appropriate. So far, we’ve simply deleted
    all of the attempts by McIntyre and his minions to draw attention to this at RealClimate.

    any insights and/or advice you can provide would be extremely helpful. If you’re
    uncomfortable doing this by email, I can be reached most of the day at my cell phone”

    Why is that Mike and the RealClimate team are deleting questions on this subject, (isn’t the consensus opinion well understood on Yamal?), why might it be that Phil and Tim would be uncomfortable discussing this in email. Is that an insinuation – by Mike Mann?

    [Response: There is no 'consensus' position on Yamal. Most of the scientific community could not possibly care less about Yamal, if they have even heard of it. And no one is 'deleting questions' in general. The point here, obviously, is that Mike was not interested in allowing RC to be a place for McIntyre to repeat his incorrect characterization of the impact of these tree ring records on the climate reconstruction. As for why someone might be uncomfortable using email to communicate about things for which they have been attacked unfairly and dishonestly, has it occurred to you that they might have been concerned about people taking their email out of context and placing spin on it, to try to cast them in a bad light? Nah, no one would ever do that, right?--eric]

    Comment by ZT — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:29 AM

  369. David Wright: “…it is entirely possible that additional CO2 will be beneficial.”

    It’s also entirely possible that I could bet my life savings on 00 on a roullette wheel and win, but I doubt it is a good retirement strategy. The probability that CO2 sensitivity is less than 2 degrees per doubling is less than 5%. If it’s higher, we are likely in deep kimchee. You are proposing to bet the future of human civilization on a 20:1 longshot. Feel lucky?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:30 AM

  370. From Tom Wigley (4712):
    ——–
    “….. Note that individual series are weighted according to their
    quality in forming a composite hemispheric-scale time series.”

    The word ‘quality’ here has been chosen carefully — as something that
    is deliberately a bit ambiguous.
    ——-

    Can you put this in context, I’m struggling with the concept of a scientific paper being “deliberately a bit ambiguous”.

    Comment by climatebeagle — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:31 AM

  371. Brian Dodge@340:

    “Then why are you comfortable with uncontrolled testing of the effects of CO2 on our ONLY planet, currently carrying seven billion passengers?”

    Simple. Because there are many known benefits from the use of fossil fuel. It’s what keeps the plane flying. No time to dump the fuel tanks when we are in mid flight!

    There is little evidence that fossil fuel will cause a catastrophe that would equate to not using it.

    We are explorers. We did not invent fossil fuel, we discovered it in nature, and like most things nature provides, it has been good for humanity. The rise out of the little ice age has also been quite beneficial to life on earth. I have no reason to believe that a couple more degrees will be harmful in any way. Nature has truly been good to us in many ways, and if the trend continues she will continue to do so. Or she may not, but that is not under our control.

    [Response: The problem here is that your view of the situation is so binary. It is either a catastrophe or negligible. The only solution is reducing carbon emissions to zero immediately. But neither of these things are true. There is a whole range of impacts that range for the minor to the very serious, and there is no-one who doesn't recognise that reducing emissions is a long-term proposition. Please stop arguing against strawmen. - gavin]

    Comment by David Wright — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:35 AM

  372. Pete:
    “There has been no financial reason not to deploy alternative energy for some time. There may appear to be because all the costs of burning carbon are not included in the acknowledged price.”

    There you go with the “hidden costs”. It reminds me of the “hidden heat”. You are assuming that CO2 is harmful and will cost us something more in the future, when it may very well be beneficial in the long run. For me to accept your argument I have to accept that there is this invisible hidden cost. You are arguing your point with the point being argued! It’s becoming repetitive, like a merry go round.

    Money quantifies efficiency. Most alternatives, being more expensive (without subsudies), are currently less efficient by that measure.

    Comment by David Wright — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:46 AM

  373. #361 Salamano

    It’s a red herring argument. debates about belief are not the same as discussions about evidence.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:50 AM

  374. DW: “We did not invent fossil fuel, we discovered it in nature, and like most things nature provides, it has been good for humanity. ”

    Wow! Just Wow! That’s the crux of your argument? That’s it? Yeah, Smallpox, Ebola, arsenic in drinking water…

    Dude, please tell me you aren’t that stupid.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:58 AM

  375. climatebeagle, On the use of constructive ambiguity in science. When you are trying to summarize a highly technical procedure, or better, several related methods, the details of which would likely lose the reader and would not significantly add to understanding of the research, it is sometimes advantageous to avoid excess detail in favor of readability. Anyone who has ever written up research has made such choices. I take it from your question that you haven’t published before. True?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:02 PM

  376. On the cost benefit analysis of environmental regulation

    “Making the case for value of environmental rules”
    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/economy_and_the_environment_the_case_for_environmental_rules/2464/

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:06 PM

  377. 367 David Wright

    Pot meet Kettle.

    David, you are actually arguing in circles with yourself and others. That’s quite a juggling feat.

    What hidden costs? The costs are infrastructure related.

    - How much money will in cost to refit a single port as sea level rises?
    - How much will the inflation cost the monetary economy?
    -How much will in cost to move entire town and city populations more areas become less inhabitable, or,
    - How much will it cost to adapt to to the changes?

    These are not hidden costs, they are occurring and increasingly expected costs. The cost of added CO2 is not an assumption it is an expectation. And this expectation is qualifiable. It is not mere opinion.

    Or are you assuming that moving cities and ports will not have associated costs?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:10 PM

  378. Sorry, Ray, he is.
    Shorter David Wright: “Ignoramus, ignorabimus.”
    Refuted many places, e.g. http://pan.oxfordjournals.org/content/16/1/70.short

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Nov 2011 @ 12:10 PM

  379. Ray:
    “You are proposing to bet the future of human civilization on a 20:1 longshot”
    Not sure where you got those odds. Humans have survived several ice ages, and now have the capability to insulate themsleves against harsh conditions, thanks a great deal to cheap energy.

    What you view as gambling, I view as an investment in an infrastructure which has paid great dividends in terms of human sustainablility and quality of life. Most folks are not willing to give up those dividends.

    They will be willing to save money on energy, and as the technology progresses, will probably end up using less fossil fuel per person in the long run.

    So your fear may be alleviated, just not as quickly as you may wish.

    Comment by David Wright — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:01 PM

  380. Asking people who study and understand physics and climate science to do an exercise debunking Michael Mann is typical of the phony jiujitsu the fake skeptic community uses to exploit the integrity of science and create the appearance that there is something wrong with it.

    I hope the hardworking people here will not take the bait.

    You say uncertainty, they use uncertainty. Whatever occurs, they are carefully studying its appearance rather than its substance to find things that can be exploited.

    I deeply appreciate the tolerance this site extends to all, including myself (when Dr. Ladbury used one of his wtf’s on me, I knew I had arrived, but also took the criticism to heart as his trenchant comments are useful and accurate), but it is not useful to continue down the road when the obstinate ignoring of useful information persists.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:04 PM

  381. David Wright @ 370,

    Money quantifies efficiency. Most alternatives, being more expensive (without subsudies), are currently less efficient by that measure.

    Oh, fer crimminie’s sake! Money is a fiction, what matters is energy returned on energy invested. Currently fossil fuels have diminishing returns in terms of energy invested even if you don’t consider environmental damage as part of the equation! If you use whole cost accounting, alternative sources of energy such as wind` and solar start making sense. See this link::

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-25/fossil-fuels-beaten-by-renewables-for-first-time-as-climate-talks-founder.html

    Renewable Power Trumps Fossils for First Time as UN Talks Stall

    Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks.

    Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass attracted $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the most recent data. Accelerating installations of solar and wind power led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal.

    “The progress of renewables has been nothing short of remarkable,” United Nations Environment Program Executive Secretary Achim Steiner said in an interview. “You have record investment in the midst of an economic and financial crisis.”

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:15 PM

  382. Many thanks for the response.

    Regarding your comment: ‘Most of the scientific community could not possibly care less about Yamal, if they have even heard of it.’ Didn’t RealClimate produced its own article on Yamal from around this time?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/

    Could you possibly provide a little more context to explain why most scientists were uninterested, RealClimate published its own article on this subject, and Mann was deleting comments on this topic, all around the same time?

    [Response: Sure. The Yamal chronology is just one of several thousand extant, so even for those who work on paleoclimate, or those who work specifically with tree ring analyses, it's not important. We try not to waste time on things that don't matter. Not difficult to grasp.--Jim]

    Regarding the suggestion from Mann about using the telephone for communication for improved comfort – why is that Mann is using email for his communication on this topic in a misconstruable (presumably) email, but wants to provide the option for the Yamal instructions to be returned in a telephone call. Is Mann indicating that Jones and Osborn may have something to hide?

    [Response: You're kidding right? Or did you use to work for Joseph McCarthy? (Look it up.)--eric]

    Comment by ZT — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:17 PM

  383. In my field readability and ambiguity are opposites, I can fully understand removing detail to make something clearer or more readable. I can’t imagine being deliberately ambiguous to make something more readable. Certainly the quote didn’t seem to be trying to make things more readable. I’d never heard of the term “Constructive ambiguity” before, Wikipedia has it as “deliberate use of ambiguous language on a sensitive issue in order to advance some political purpose.” Maybe you can point me to a definition suitable for use in science papers.

    Comment by climatebeagle — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:25 PM

  384. #369 David Wright

    Where do you get ‘invisible’? Just because your eyes are closed and you’re not interested in listening to what the sighted have to say…

    Comment by Bryson Brown — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:29 PM

  385. #369 David Wright

    No time to dump the fuel tanks when we are in mid flight

    I actually agree with you on this one.

    We can’t just dump the tanks as that would be too economically disruptive.

    However a transitional approach is a ‘very’ good idea at this point in time. So dumping the tanks is not that great an approach, but dropping fuel will certainly help bring us in for a soft landing.

    You are mistaken on your next point though, in it’s ambiguity and lack of context:

    There is little evidence that fossil fuel will cause a catastrophe that would equate to not using it.

    What do you mean by catastrophe? Such ambiguity lends your statement to hyperbole rather than qualitative or quantitative analysis.

    There is in fact a great deal of quantitative evidence that shows there will be economically degradative impacts as this progresses. That is the point I am making.

    Read the field.pdf I mentioned. It is loaded with context that is based on ‘current measurements’ not models. There is a significant economic impact that will increase as warming progresses.

    Better yet. Come to the AGU meeting in San Francisco and question him yourself. He is speaking on one of my panels:

    Climate Confluence Issues (Energy, Environment, Economics, Security)
    - Date: 09-Dec-2011; Session Time: 10:20 AM – 12:20 PM
    - Location: Room 104 (Moscone South)

    Speakers:

    - Christopher B. Field: Ecosystem and Food Security in a Changing Climate
    - U.S. Navy Task Force Climate Change
    - Guy Brasseur: Projected Climate Changes and Regional Security
    - John P. Reisman: Overview of Climate Confluence Security Issues

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:30 PM

  386. Oups.. Ray just popped a vain on his forehead. Well every village has a fool, Ray. We cannot really get angry with what nature has bestowed (or not) on them. Chillax :)

    Btw DW..if business as usual (per ice age survival) has worked so well why did we creat EPA and the environmental movement?

    Comment by DrTskoul — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:37 PM

  387. I sympathise with you Chris (@341, et al.). I’ve been getting heavy flack in response to some simple inquiries and criticisms I made recently (for the first time ever there, as here) at Climate Audit. I’ve refrained from commenting on sites like this, because an admission of confusion by someone who knows they lack applicable knowledge or expertise commonly gets met with condescension, or howls of contempt and derision — from hard nuts on all sides, but mostly from zealous non-cognoscenti desperate to show the marks of true faith (although I note you’ve had some rather generous responses here).

    I’m an absurdly qualified academic at a well known university: which gives me no purchase whatsoever on climate science. Sure, I can read the stuff: but I can’t actually verify it, or contextualise it. Most people’s relationship with science (when they bother to remember they’re having one) is thoroughly unscientific — which make us easily led, but also easily disappointed. This doesn’t make us cretins: but scientists had better forgive us when our faith gets fragile and we get antsy on them. Pretty much everybody would be better off if we admitted that there are relatively few onlookers who can do much better than take authority on trust. It’s weirdly like being a Greek chorus that doesn’t know any Greek. Perhaps the best we can do is to try to remain up to date with /where/ the known uncertainties lie: which beats deferring to crazy-eyed graduate students on these pages, and also gets us beyond the Climate Audit tendency of memorising lists of canonical citations, like scriptural lessons, to be swapped like pass-words.

    Personally I’ve found
    this enormously useful (although there’s a weird typo in the penultimate sentence).

    Comment by Jon — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:42 PM

  388. #377 David Wright

    Context is key. Fossil fuels have brought us great benefit, but have the true costs of various benefits been weighed properly though time? That is the question.

    Shakespearian conundrums aside, there is tremendous opportunity for economic benefit from developing new technologies that increase our energy security.

    Also we can not ignore our economic security. As I have said on many occasions, if the economy fails, we won’t be able to fix as much as we would like. And I don’t think anyone really enjoys economic chaos and degradation at those levels.

    The key point you seem to be missing is the cost to benefit ration through time. Don’t worry, though, many people miss this point. That’s because it is a complex array of potential scenarios and is not fully quantified for that very reason.

    But uncertainty is not your friend. In this case it is your enemy. There will clearly be economically degradative impacts and the lack of certainty about how costly is preventing action that can assure a more economically viable future.

    The costs are predictably high, but like climate sensitivity it is hard to say just how degradative it will be overall. The key point to understanding this is simply that, in my opinion, any economic degradation is bad.

    Contrary to what you seem to be currently thinking, there is actually no reasonable evidence that warming will be economically beneficial, while there is a tremendous amount of evidence that it will be degradative.

    So you are arguing the opposite, based on speculation while the evidence contradicts your speculation.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:43 PM

  389. “If you give me six lines written by the most honest man, I will find something in them to hang him.”    — Cardinal Richelieu

    The guiding light of denialists.

    [Response: Thanks for the bit of history. I had thought RPJr had said that; glad to be corrected. ;) --eric]

    Comment by Radge Havers — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:47 PM

  390. #379 Eric

    My uncle George actually did work for Senator Joseph McCarthy.

    As I like to point out once in a while, irony is pretty ironic.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:51 PM

  391. People who have studied physics and climate science have been trying to debunk Mann for years. It is all part of the process.

    In school, his tests and exams were examined closely. In grad school, his theses were defended in an adversarial arena. His many published papers were all peer reviewed by physicists and climate scientists ( check the hacked emails for proof of the ferocity of that system).

    Lately panels of pysicists and climate scientists have sat in judgement . They say Mann’s work is honest, accurate and important.

    Comment by John McManus — 26 Nov 2011 @ 1:55 PM

  392. Usually, vapid piffle like David Wright’s comments does not get posted here. But there’s a lot of it on this thread. Are the moderators allowing comments that would normally be deleted as unworthy even of the Bore Hole, to illustrate the extraordinarily poor quality of the comments being provoked by the “two year old turkey”?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Nov 2011 @ 2:07 PM

  393. As it seems germane to the discussion I thought we all might want to digest the implications of context in this little video:

    http://uscentrist.org/news/irony/2011/october/weathering-fights-science-whats-it-up-to

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 2:20 PM

  394. David Wright:

    First, modern human society (with modern infrastructure and a population of 7 billion people) has survived exactly zero ice ages. And NO human population has survived a world that was 5ºF to 7ºF higher in average temperature. It will be an interesting experiment, to say the least.

    What are you talking about when you say “cheap energy?” Man has always used the cheapest energy at hand. The Roman Empire actually had an energy crisis when they had cut down all the easy-to-reach trees on the Italian Peninsula, and had to spend more and more effort importing timber. Coal takes more energy to mine than wood, and oil takes even more energy than that. And when you factor in the increasing amount of damage that extracting, refining, and burning of each of these energy sources does to the environment, our energy sources are actually getting more expensive, and we are going through them at an increasingly rapid rate. This path is unsustainable.

    You can deny that all you want, but it is still true.

    To continue on the path we are on without change is eventual suicide (the environmental bill in particular, which is so easy to put off paying, is rapidly become due). Every bit of good science (and common sense) that I have ever seen supports that.

    Comment by Craig Nazor — 26 Nov 2011 @ 2:25 PM

  395. John:
    374.On the cost benefit analysis of environmental regulation

    “Making the case for value of environmental rules”
    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/economy_and_the_environment_the_case_for_environmental_rules/2464/

    The clean air act was a great thing. You’ll get no argument from me. We drastically improved our quality of life. We have done so well (in the US) that we are near the point of diminishing returns. Unless of course you believe that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant. Therein lies the rift.

    Comment by David Wright — 26 Nov 2011 @ 2:28 PM

  396. Chris @ 341, I sympathise with you. It’s all very well for folk to start getting condescending or rude, or treating it as if it’s /your/ fault (or society’s), if you express reasonable confusion and caution — or disagreement — as a result of some mixed messages. I’ve just made the mistake of commenting at Climate Audit, and it was, um, a ‘learning experience’. The idiom and dynamics are different over here, but in some ways the message isn’t, and the demands certainly aren’t.

    I’m an academic with an absurd number of degrees a well-known university, and I was /raised/ by academic climatologists and taken on field trips when Michael Mann was still in diapers and Steve McKintyre was doing whatever in hell he was doing. None of this gives me any authority to speak on climate science. Sure, I can go and get wised up, read a few papers: but I can’t verify what I read, and half the time I actually can’t understand it, anymore than I might ‘understand’ quantum physics. And you know what? I’ve heard that scientists change their minds about stuff from time to time. I believe I’m not supposed to believe in the Higgs Boson particle any more. But that’s alright, because I only found out about it at 9 am yesterday morning. Sorry. Guess I’d not done all the reading I should have done.

    Fact of the matter is, anyone with a science degree should be the first to admit that even an expensive private high-school education doesn’t get you that far. And last I heard from my colleagues, quite a few undergrads don’t really ‘get’ science. Scientific thinking actually depends in large part on /being/ a scientist in one shape or form, unless your brain happens to be shaped that way naturally. Most of the rest of us take the medicine — whether it’s the stuff made by big business, or the distilled water — on sufferance or trust. We’re easily led if we want to be, but unless we’ve shut our eyes completely (which wouldn’t be very scientific would it?), we’re also easily disappointed.

    Most of the people who ‘believe’ in AGW don’t know what it is that they believe in, any more than those who take what is for them a single simple step across the line into total disinterest or outright denial. It’s like we’re supposed to be the Greek chorus that doesn’t know any Greek, and has never visited the place. The graceless crazy-eyed science grads (or wannabe science grads) out there, all pale and twitchy fingered over their key boards, really do need to remember that we ignorant punters actually need to be treated nicely, because most of us know no more about atmospheric physics than a lot of you do. Some of us may even ‘know’ more than one might think, but enough to see our ignorance. We are not (necessarily) cretins. Howls of condescension and fundamentally meaningless demands that we educate ourselves (i.e. by doing enough reading that we’ll be rendered acquiescent) won’t help anyone’s cause: that’s what the other lot are asking for too, matey-boots.

    So perhaps the best we rank and file can do is try and stay abreast of where the uncertainties lie: not that many people like putting that front and centre in clear terms. Personally I’ve found this piece rather helpful (despite the editorial error in the last paragraph, and out of date as it may now be).

    Comment by Jon — 26 Nov 2011 @ 2:36 PM

  397. “First, modern human society (with modern infrastructure and a population of 7 billion people) has survived exactly zero ice ages. And NO human population has survived a world that was 5ºF to 7ºF higher in average temperature. It will be an interesting experiment, to say the least.”

    We survived with much less insulation than we have today. That is truly amazing in and of itself, but OT.

    Do the proprietors of this blog project temperatures of 5 to 7 degrees higher than today? I think you’re stretching the projections. It’s more like around 2 degrees last I checked, but maybe the moderators can chime in. Humans probably would survive 5 to 7 degrees though, considering all the other calamaties we have survived.

    [Response: The moderators will indeed "chime in" to tell you that some of them don't have time or patience for this increasingly off topic, tit for tat, game playing. It's not a chat room. You're welcome to make cogent, argued, on-topic points if you so choose.--Jim]

    Comment by David Wright — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:04 PM

  398. #390 Craig Nazor

    Good context. Thank you for pointing that out.

    It’s not about whether hunter/gatherers survived ice ages and paleo climate change events, it’s about how well New York would fare if it were buried under a mile thick ice sheet.

    And it’s not about the fact that it has been warmer in the past, it’s about how well our infrastructure and agricultural systems will fare in a significantly warmer world.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:10 PM

  399. Re, #386 by John McManus, which concluded with:
    Lately panels of pysicists and climate scientists have sat in judgement . They say Mann’s work is honest, accurate and important.

    ========================
    Perhaps, but we also have number 3373 of the recently released emails that contains the following, authored by Professor Ray Bradley, listed as a contributor to RealClimate at
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/raymond-s-bradley/,

    Bradly wrote:

    Mike only likes these because they seem to match his idea of what went on in the last millennium, whereas he would savage them if they did not. Also–& I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.

    ========================

    This is not Anthony Watts dumping on Mann’s work. Rather, it is a well-regarded climate scientist. Personally, I think that if the climate science community made more public statements along these lines, albeit phrased more diplomatically, the credibility of the community and the acceptance of those views where there truly is a consensus would increase, not decrease.

    Observer

    Comment by Observer — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:10 PM

  400. Jon wrote: “Most of the people who ‘believe’ in AGW don’t know what it is that they believe in”

    What is your evidence for that extraordinary claim?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:12 PM

  401. Jon, the fact that climate science is complex is no excuse. Because there are lots of statements about climate science which are not complex.

    When someone make a statement like ‘Global warming, I mean climate change, was invented by Al Gore!’ it doesn’t take a Nobel Prize physicist to figure out that this statement is pure unadulterated nonsense. When someone makes transparently bogus statements like these, and persist on making such statements even after being corrected, then it’s clearly his own fault that he’s being misinformed.

    And if you keep using the ‘um, I’m not a scientist, this stuff’s hard to figure out’ excuse, then it starts to look like, you know, an excuse.

    – frank

    Comment by frank -- Decoding SwiftHack — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:24 PM

  402. climatebeagle, Might I suggest that you read some of the writing of Niels Bohr for an idea of what happens when one struggles for too much precision in language.

    Bohr was famous for agonizing over every single word in his writing, sometimes through many drafts and weeks of analysis. What emerged was invariably incomprehensible without reading it several times. If you did read it multiple times, you would find it brilliant and arrive at a deeper understanding. Most people, including most scientists, do not put that kind of effort into reading a paper.

    Keep in mind that even if you are writing for experts, you are far more expert on what you have done than they are. Those who are expert enough will interpret a slightly ambiguous but accurate statement correctly. Those with less expertise will not get lost plowing through endless special cases, qualifiers and jargon.

    If you want mathematical precision, use an equation. Of course you lese ~10% of your audience for each equation, as well.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:29 PM

  403. Chris (#341),

    I thought you asked a couple of good questions awhile back, and got some very good answers back from Gavin. I was a bit disappointed when you replied you didn’t know if you were any the wiser, but OK, Gavin’s answers tend to be information-dense. There’s a lot of background here that it takes time to pick up, and some that laymen like me would have to go back to school for.

    But now you’re being disappointing on your own level, so to speak. Yes, of course it’s hard for you as a layman not to have a negative response to some of the emails. You have been spoon-fed stolen emails from a decade’s worth of correspondence, selectively released, excerpted to highlight anything that sounds even remotely suspicious or nasty, and then framed and spun to fit into conspiracy-theory narratives—well, how could you not get a negative impression? But more importantly: How can you not have the basic street smarts to see that you’re being played?

    Look, the people who wrote these emails are the kind of people who will bother to research and write a publishable scientific paper to rebut a paper they think is wrong. The kind of people who are anonymously publishing these emails, and the kind of people who are gleefully parroting them on WUWT are, well, the kind of people who will steal other people’s mail and smear their reputations because they don’t like their science, but wouldn’t know how to write a scientific rebuttal to save their lives. Why are you finding it so hard to see who you should trust?

    Heck, from the emails, it looks like the most nefarious collusion these scientists can manage is to talk with an editor who suggests he can delay print publication of a “skeptic” paper so both papers can appear in print at the same time. Would that be your idea of manipulation? Letting readers read a paper and its rebuttal side by side so they can compare them and make up their own opinion? How sneaky!—How about releasing new selected batches of stolen personal mail a few weeks before major climate treaty negotiations, does that strike you as a bit manipulative by comparison? A bit like a carefully managed political campaign? A bit different from what you’d expect from a “whistleblower” concerned to expose corruption of the scientific process?

    I’d have to disagree with you, the emails do not show an “inner circle” of scientists with “undue influence” over “the IPCC, politicians, scientific journals, etc.” Think about it. Science, like any other professional endeavor, is full of little circles of people talking with each other. The emails show a somewhat artificial circle of (a) scientists who got their mail stolen, and (b) correspondents of theirs that the hackers have chosen to highlight. This group includes some very eminent names in paleoclimate, and some authors for the IPCC; maybe that makes it an “inner” circle, I don’t know.

    The emails do not show that this circle has undue influence, even in the IPCC (which has lots of other authors, probably forming a few circles of their own). They don’t show that they were wrong to think certain studies did not belong on the scientific record. They don’t show them doing anything wrong to keep such studies out. They don’t even show them being particularly successful at it—”skeptic” papers got published and got discussed in the IPCC report against the very definite opinions of some of these scientists.

    And now I’m talking about arenas like IPCC reports and scientific journals, where the people involved actually have a bit of clout. If you imagine them having some kind of back-channel influence over politicians or journalists, I have to tell you you’re not thinking clearly. Pity. I thought you sounded clear-headed and open-minded enough when you entered this discussion. I hope I was right and that I haven’t spent my evening writing this for nothing.

    Comment by CM — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:33 PM

  404. >DW
    > Clean Air Act … near the point of diminishing returns.

    Nonsense. You’re making your claims up.

    The Clean Air Act and Health — A Clearer View from 2011
    Jonathan M. Samet, M.D.
    N Engl J Med 2011; 365:198-201, July 21, 2011
    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1103332

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:39 PM

  405. David Wright

    I found the Field.pdf

    http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Hearings/Energy/030811/Field.pdf

    If you wish to have a direct conversation on this matter. Contact me at +1-202-470-3299 I’d bet we could figure out a few things.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:42 PM

  406. Observer:

    This is not Anthony Watts dumping on Mann’s work. Rather, it is a well-regarded climate scientist. Personally, I think that if the climate science community made more public statements along these lines, albeit phrased more diplomatically, the credibility of the community and the acceptance of those views where there truly is a consensus would increase, not decrease.

    Except your missing that bradley said this in 2004, and later in 2008 was co-author of a paper on the subject with … who? Why, Mann.

    The 2008 paper, of course, is where their consensus in their views lies … unless the only fact that interests you is the fact that they at times disagree, their published co-operative work is what’s important. Science moving forward. Denialists looking back for any sign of any mistake or disagreement in the past, in order to ignore or lie about where science is at present and the trajectory of science moving forward.

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:51 PM

  407. re: David Wright @396

    It’s ridiculous to talk about “surviving”. That’s the threshold for action? Extinction?

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 26 Nov 2011 @ 3:52 PM

  408. [Response: The moderators will indeed "chime in" to tell you that some of them don't have time or patience for this increasingly off topic, tit for tat, game playing. It's not a chat room. You're welcome to make cogent, argued, on-topic points if you so choose.--Jim]
    My initial post was to argue an assertion, contained in this thread (by Gavin?), equating the value of climate models to aerodynamic models.

    From there it’s been an evolution of my responses to numerous arguments directed toward me by many of your (I presume) regular visitors. If their responses/questions are not OT, I don’t see how my response to them should be cut off.

    [Response: You might well be right. But I'm stepping in here based on what I've seen and the time I have to give it.--Jim]

    Nonetheless, the cost/benefit is certainly a diversion from the “two year old turkey” discussion (apparently a welcome diversion according to some of the posters).

    The climate emails are of only passing interest to me, being just more of the same IMHO.

    Thanks for your time. I enjoyed the dialogue. Sorry if you feel it was a waste of your time.

    Comment by David Wright — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:00 PM

  409. DW opines: Not sure where you got those odds. Humans have survived several ice ages, and now have the capability to insulate themsleves against harsh conditions, thanks a great deal to cheap energy.

    As has been pointed out, nothing like our current civilization has survived a climate more than a degree or two away from where it is now.

    And something I’ll point out here is that you’re moving the goalposts. Again. See how you’ve changed from “… if the trend continues….” cornucopianism to “…species survived ….”

    Will the species survive 6C of warming? Almost assuredly, unless H2S releases from an ocean that stopped overturning wipes us out. But population will take a huge nosedive as most of our current living space, and most of our current agriculturally productive areas, become unlivable for reasons of temperature or drought.

    as for the probabilities, you should try reading the last IPCC report. The full text is long, but the SPC is bearable.

    What you view as gambling, I view as an investment in an infrastructure which has paid great dividends in terms of human sustainablility and quality of life. Most folks are not willing to give up those dividends.

    I see.

    So, David, how sustainable do you see indefinite growth being in a finite world?

    They will be willing to save money on energy, and as the technology progresses, will probably end up using less fossil fuel per person in the long run.

    So your fear may be alleviated, just not as quickly as you may wish.

    There is no question that per-capita use of fossil fuels will decline. We have a growing capita and a declining rate of fossil fuel production. That does little to alleviate fears of rational people who see the effects of burning all the fossil carbon we have. You see, the climate doesn’t care a wit what the per-capita use is, nor whether the carbon came from tar sands or natural gas. GDP doesn’t matter, nor does the carbon intensity of the economy. The only things that matter are CO2e PPM and climate sensitivity.

    Comment by David Miller — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:00 PM

  410. Salamano #363,

    Jog my memory… How did the Council of Carthage quantify the confidence level on the attribution of the Epistle to the Hebrews, again? :-)

    Comment by CM — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:05 PM

  411. Please move the discussion back on topic. Request applies to everyone without exception. Thank you.
    Jim

    Comment by Jim — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:15 PM

  412. Roger that! Over and out!
    Thanks again.

    Comment by David Wright — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:29 PM

  413. Observer,
    Science is a game played by scientists. As such, they tend to keep their opinions within the community. What astounds me is that in the same breath, you guys can look at criticism between scientists and claim there is no consensus, while at the same time invoking conspiracy to explain away the utter inability of denialists to produce a shred of evidence supporting their position. Doublethink at its finest.

    [Response: My bold. Well said Ray. Truly astounding, isn't it!?--eric]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:33 PM

  414. @ 367

    Ray, you said: “This not only decreased the amount of dissent, it had a salutory effect on cooperation.

    If you think the IPCC has anything like the power of a Roman emperor, you are sadly deluded. The IPCC does not define consensus. Instead, it tries to reflect the consensus to be found in the technical literature.”

    It would appear then that your main distinction you draw is that the test is how much power the IPCC has over dissidents…

    @ 373

    … John, you said: “It’s a red herring argument. debates about belief are not the same as discussions about evidence.”

    Logically it is not a red herring because I’m establishing the terms. I’m not responding to anyone else’s comments.

    But regardless, what do you suppose the difference is between the two as it relates to the functions of a council attempting to reflect the present understandings of key questions of their eras? No evidence gets to be presented in arguments over belief? If it’s discussions over evidence in a scientific context, it justifies omission of dissent?

    Even in 8-1 Supreme Court rulings, a published dissent is permitted (which, you may elect to term a red herring ;-) )

    Comment by Salamano — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:36 PM

  415. #408 David Wright

    Hmm… another Dunning/Kruger claim victory and duck out of the room moment.

    Who could have ever predicted that one…

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:46 PM

  416. Chris @ 341 vs the real story here: Chris starts with

    Further to my comment at #187 and your responses, I have kept looking at sites on both sides of the current “Climategate 2″ email issue.

    I made the point that is hard, for a layman, not to have a negative response to some of the excerpts – even though we have accepted that these are taken out of context and we do not know the full background to many of the “highlights”.

    Of course it’s hard, because it is designed to be hard. People are being misled by professional misleaders. Chris continues with an almost Illuminati scale fantasy:

    Looking, for instance, at the specific accusation that there appears to be an “inner circle” that have undue influence over the IPCC, politicians, scientific journals, etc,…

    Wow Chris, the denial professionals hope to create enough general confusion and doubt to stop public pressure for alternative energy, but can anyone spell it out as you did and not realize it is crazy? At best yours is an an odd inference to draw from a bunch of examples of scientists criticizing each other. Yet you say next:

    …then based on a number of the emails, there looks to me, at least, like there is a case to answer.

    Chris, you need a break. Take a long walk out in nature if you can find some near where you live, preferably with someone who won’t want to talk much about this subject.

    Chris goes on to worry about the ethics of hard working well meaning people and concludes:

    I think that this is the problem and is not aided by the comments here on RC. If you read most of the comments from RC contributors (i.e. from those contributors that are natural supporters of RC), I don’t think I have seen one where the conduct of a particular individual is questioned or that the content of any of the emails makes one feel a little uncomfortable.

    Chris, assuming you haven’t gone on break yet, let me present a reason for what you see as “the problem.” The real story here is ….

    Science! First, there is natural competition among scientists. Competition for limited funding of course, but another special sort of competition: intellectual competition. Scientists are engaged in finding out how nature works, and each one hopes to gain important new knowledge for humanity before the other scientist at the next lab finds it out. This is importantly not the zero sum type of competition one is conditioned to envision. It is the opposite: highly constructive competition. The effect of this competition is that scientists worldwide are cooperating to construct reliable knowledge, as Spencer Weart put it somewhere in his book on the history of climatology.

    Second, like most branches of science climate science is continually advancing. Climate science does not have its own theory. The theoretical part (in the scientific sense of the word) is standard chemistry and physics. Climate science is the working out of the implications of physics and chemistry on a planetary scale, and this turns out to be a highly interesting and non-trivial exercise. One of the important ways science advances is by finding new ways to extract data from nature. Two examples that are very helpful in climatology for data of both the present and the past are very precise mass spectrometers and very exacting examination of living and preserved tree rings. Paleoclimatology in turn provides a very valuable context for understanding current climate and its changes. What are called “multiproxy reconstructions” of the history of our planet’s surface temperature are especially helpful. Starting with Mann, Bradley and Hughes 1998 (MBH98) (soon followed by MBH99, and many more as the years passed) the scientific value of multiproxy methods quickly became clear. Nevertheless it was a new method still being developed and improved, and naturally there were some arguments and disagreements as this happened. But Chris, if you can get past a handful of carefully selected snippets extracted from years of discussion what we have here is an account of how science works as new methods are tried and evaluated over nearly fifteen years. Thanks to Real Climate we are privileged to an extraordinary inside account of this part of scientific history, and it wonderfully bears out Spencer Weart’s description of the global scientific process.

    As data added up and climate worsened, fossil fuel interests had an ever greater problem. Their problem became acute in 1998 with the combination of the very strong El Niño and the publication of the first major multiproxy reconstruction paper and its disturbing graph. Soon and fatefully that type of graph was given a catchy name: the hockey stick. A name like that is much easier to attack than “figure n in a certain scientific publication.” To a professional climatologist it is just one figure in one paper, but by showing past and contemporary temperatures in a single graph it makes deniers look foolish at a stroke. This single graph says “Yes it is happening, and No it isn’t a natural variation, or at least there isn’t any natural variation that looks like this or warms the surface at this fast pace.” Deniers could see that they had a big problem and no legitimate solution. Mike Mann would never be forgiven.

    Today with our knowledge of increasing ocean heat content and decreasing total global ice we can easily dismiss many denier arguments on conservation of energy grounds. Fluctuations in ocean surface temperatures (like the AMO) may influence the global average surface temperature, but these fluctuations can not manufacture energy. As it gets harder and harder for deniers to fool people by sounding sciency, they rely more and more on personal attacks on individual scientists and generalized slurs on scientists overall. But Chris, as a member of the comparatively enlightened “inner circle” of learners here, you shouldn’t fall for this ploy. You have talked yourself into concern that the IPCC summary for humans might overstate the danger, yet if you think about it calmly you know that if anything the opposite has occurred.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:52 PM

  417. John:
    I am trying to comply with the request of the proprietor. I do not expect to change anyone’s belief, and I have not claimed any victory. Nor should you.

    Comment by David Wright — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:56 PM

  418. As usual, I get into RC debates after the key moment but I hope you’ll allow me this comment please Moderator:-

    In #102, Jeff Short says :-

    [ ...... and one might strongly argue that the evolutionary traits of much of the Australian Fauna and Flora would suggest climate variability similar to that of the last 200 years has existed for several hundred thousand]

    I have lost sleep over trying to understand the implications of this – climate the same over the last 200 years as over the last several hundred thousand?

    I know Oz is ‘different’ (smile) but …….

    …… please someone tell me what PaleoClimate resources Mr Short uses?

    Comment by Clippo (UK) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 4:58 PM

  419. Salamano:

    Even in 8-1 Supreme Court rulings, a published dissent is permitted (which, you may elect to term a red herring ;-) )

    But deliberations are not made public. “published dissent” is equivalent to published research followed by critical comments (and indeed takes a very similar form – paper followed by critical comments which attempt to shoot down the results vs. majority opinion followed by dissenting opinions which attempt to shoot down the majority one).

    Stealing private e-mail discussions and publicizing them is akin to bugging the supreme court during their private deliberations and releasing the recording …

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Nov 2011 @ 5:04 PM

  420. #417 David Wright

    Then call me so we can discuss it and comply with the moderators request.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Nov 2011 @ 5:26 PM

  421. @419

    Dhogaza… Your point on Supreme Court private deliberations not being made public are well taken (though these days they are getting cameras in the court-room and therefore about as much ‘fodder’ as detractors need)

    I still don’t agree that publishing a separate paper though a separate channel is akin to having an equal plane response to the IPCC pronouncement (similar to how dissenting views are appended/packaged with the ruling opinion).

    However, you may be thinking the reason why there was no ‘dissenting opinion’ on the IPCC report is because by it’s nature it was not allowed to have any dissent, and that every nation must sign off on every sentence.

    Despite the acceptability of this statement on its face, (a) we should all realize how impossible it is to get ‘no dissent(for real)’ among a bazillion contributors and countries, and (b) it doesn’t seem to me that the selection process for authors, contributors, and evidence is all-encompassing (though it may have been most-so in its earliest form)…I believe there’s a new book out there that talks about that.

    (part ‘b’ is a red-herring…feel free to ignore it)

    Comment by Salamano — 26 Nov 2011 @ 5:55 PM

  422. And following on from #419:

    AS well as using email presumably scientists also use the telephone to communicate with one another…so would it be OK to secretly bug (tape) those conversations and then cherry pick those conversations and publish them?

    I don’t think that that is legal or moral either.

    Comment by oneiota — 26 Nov 2011 @ 6:01 PM

  423. Salamano:

    Dhogaza… Your point on Supreme Court private deliberations not being made public are well taken (though these days they are getting cameras in the court-room and therefore about as much ‘fodder’ as detractors need)

    The court room’s not private, and the justices are well aware that their words are being recorded. No, Supreme Court sessions aren’t televised, but they are open to reporters and are reported on. They’re not private sessions, and the words you see aren’t due to someone feloniously recording the sessions.

    To be really, really, specific and to the point here, not only are their private deliberations not publicized, nor are their *private e-mails*, i.e. questions they may shoot off to their clerks, colleagues, etc.

    [Response: It might be worth pointing out that Congress exempted itself from all FOIA legislation. - gavin]

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Nov 2011 @ 6:29 PM

  424. Salamano:

    (part ‘b’ is a red-herring…feel free to ignore it)

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone making a red-herring argument admit it in advance of being called on it.

    That’s good of you.

    I believe there’s a new book out there that talks about that.

    Yes, by a fruitcake.

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Nov 2011 @ 6:32 PM

  425. Perhaps we’re taking it for granted that the background work on denial tactics and history is readily available to our persistent queriers.

    Just in case they haven’t taken it in, there are a variety of good books providing plenty of research on the subject, reaching back to the era of big tobacco etc. My personal favorite is Chris Mooney’s Republican War on Science. Naomi Oreskes covered some of the ground in Merchants of Doubt. Stephen Schneider’s Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save the Earth’s Climate covers the work of the IPCC really well. The “team” here has published a wide variety of books, and every credible world organization involved with climate has weighed in, including the military and insurance companies. Most of them, as well as organizations like the BBC and New York Times have short summaries on their websites, and those more involved such as NASA have made real efforts to provide accessible communications. ClimateCentral and a variety of other organizations also covering breaking climate news, which is not directly related but readily available.

    The weight of the evidence is extremely powerful, so anyone claiming it’s not convincing is working really hard to avoid real sources. The people doing the science know the most about it, having given their lives (and are usually underpaid for their work despite claims to the contrary). It is hard but rewarding work.

    The PR campaign is quite a different kettle of fish, unreliable and prejudiced, and carefully calculated to mislead.

    I am among the less informed posters/readers here, but to me the evidence is obvious. I sometimes have to take people’s word for the calculus, but it seems quite clear.

    A layperson can certainly compare statements in the original with misquotations readily available in every denialosphere posting and website. The slant is quite obvious once you take a look. Once you see ordinarily people being attacked on the basis of misquotations, I would think you might step back and ask yourself who’s being economical with the truth.

    I try to avoid these, but recaptcha!
    sewage muchoz

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 26 Nov 2011 @ 10:40 PM

  426. To David Wright et al. on the public policy side of climate alarmism

    A recently concluded debate that I was a part of at THE ECONOMIST (http://www.economist.com/debate/debates/overview/217) focused on energy density as the key to understand the problem of wind/solar and the growing backlash against (high-footprint) renewables. That the opposition won this debate–against the motion supporting renewables and premised against fossil fuels–says that the tide is turning…. That folks are not buying climate alarmism on the merits and that government failure must be balanced against market failure.

    [Response: Why are you people at the Economist using such inflammatory terms as 'alarmist', which bely your biases? My apologies to the Economist if you are merely namedropping and don't actually have any real affiliation with them.--eric]

    Comment by Rob Bradley — 26 Nov 2011 @ 10:48 PM

  427. The emails were stolen from one institution’s web server; how many people at that institution would have sent or received emails on that server? It seems to me the claim that a small cabal controls climate science is based on this one batch of emails which was probably mostly sent by a limited number of people to a limited number of people.

    How many other climate scientists are not part of the email cabal? How many IPCC lead authors are not part of the email cabal? (I won’t ask how many were only grad students: no ageism here.)

    [Response: And how many of the scientists who do show up here and there in the emails have been accused of being 'part of it' even though there is nothing in any of the emails associated with them that even the most ardent cynic could possibly think is problematic, context or no (last time round, I was accused of being 'hip deep' in the CRU emails, when all that was there was an email or two regarding travel planning for a meeting). --eric]

    Comment by Holly Stick — 26 Nov 2011 @ 11:02 PM

  428. Susan Anderson says:
    “I am among the less informed posters/readers here, but to me the evidence is obvious.”

    1) Obvious is not always a good thing, it could be zohnerism:
    http://www.dhmo.org/
    It’s obvious to the mouse that the cheese is just layinglying there!

    2) What exactly is obvious? That the world is warmer now than it used to be.(agree) Humanity is impacting climate.(agree) That enacting carbon trading schemes or carbon taxes is the best way to proceed.(disagree)

    [Response: Sorry to correct your grammar but this is one of my pet peeves. It's lying, not laying, no matter what NPR reporters say. No offense intended regarding the substance of your comment. --eric]

    Comment by John West — 27 Nov 2011 @ 12:32 AM

  429. Eric, couple of years back The Economist started a kind of online debate society. Subscribers can join in. Sounds like fun. But debaters’ choice of words doesn’t reflect on the newspaper, which, the last time I looked (it’s been a couple of years) was fairly sane about the science and actually had some brilliant blogging on the first CRUhack round.

    Comment by CM — 27 Nov 2011 @ 5:16 AM

  430. Rob Bradley #426,

    Firstly, I am not going to engage in further comment on the substance of this post. I have no interest in derailing the thread. If you were to actually read* the science (I do, it’s my hobby) you’d find ample cause for concern. By ‘read the science’ I mean follow your own undirected study as things interest you rather than read what others (with their biasses) tell you to read.

    For example one of the two papers I’ve read this morning gives reason for concern (the other was technical about sea-ice processes). The paper that made me sit up was Flanner et al, 2011, “Radiative forcing and albedo feedback from the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere between 1979 and 2008.”

    They use observations to make an estimate of the change in radiative forcing due to changes in the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere. Their calculated figure is substantially larger than estimates based on 18 climate models. They observe that:

    This discrepancy with our estimate indicates that either other surface processes are driving negative albedo feedback in models that offset strong cryosphere feedback, or the cryosphere is responding more sensitively to, and driving stronger climate warming than models indicate.

    What we are doing is an experiment. If you do not find the evidence persuasive at this stage we merely need to continue to see if observations of catastrophe become available.

    Comment by Chris R — 27 Nov 2011 @ 5:52 AM

  431. @ 426 Eric asked: “Why are you people at the Economist using such inflammatory terms as ‘alarmist’, which bely your biases? My apologies to the Economist if you are merely namedropping and don’t actually have any real affiliation with them.”

    A quick look at the link indeed tells us that Rob Bradley is a crusading free market evangelist with all the correct affiliations (Cato Inst. etc). He was just on one side of a debate at The Economist against renewables which his side narrowly won. The Economist itself has been hearteningly steadfast – for a right-of-centre publication – in its support of the AGW view of things.

    Comment by Joe Cushley — 27 Nov 2011 @ 6:00 AM

  432. timG56,

    You posited Gavin needs to convince you. incorrect. As a denizen of the planet, the responsibility lies with you,not Gavin. Gavin, et al., have provided ample scientific knowledge for you to determine a workable risk assessment. I am not sure why, but many seem reticent to point out to denialists a very simple fact: there are literally zero research papers that put any significant area of climate research in doubt. The research of the handful of denialists/lukewarmers/legit skeptics has repeatedly been shown to be in error in some way. Sometimes it’s more the poor science, other times it’s more faulty reasoning. But given the many thousands of papers on climate science, does it not seem reasonable a realistic challenge would have been found if there were one? But there are none. This is what the science tells us.

    If you can look at a batting average of 1.000 vs a batting average of 0.000 and come to the conclusion you have serious reason for doubt, the problem lies with you. That’s some really out of whack risk assessment.

    You are abdicating your responsibility to be an informed citizen and compounding it by accepting arguments against the risk that have no merit. The reasons for doing this are never based in good judgment or logic, so i leave you to figure out why you do this.

    To be fair, I think people on both sides of the argument on climate make a fatal mistake in not understanding risk assessment, or not applying it to the situation. While scientists understand error bars very well, thus constrain risk on a regular basis, their job is not to set policy, as has been stated by contributors here at RC many times. There is a huge difference in the functions of error and risk, and you are making the mistake of not engaging in appropriate risk assessment while scientists routinely avoid that discussion altogether to remain objective in their work; most would prefer to not be involved in policy-making. This is changing, but it is the norm and is a legit stance. Even I have stopped hounding them on this.

    But we do not need their help to do a risk assessment. It is very simple.

    Worst Case: existential threat to society, if not humanity, and definitely for many other species as the rate of extinctions is already faster than at any time in the history of the planet. (Depends whom you ask, but it’s a distinction without a practical difference.)

    Best Case: Sensitivity is very low and we hold at 2C pretty much regardless of what we do.

    Couple these with choices: Act or don’t act. We’ll assume acting keeps us at 2C, or even returns us to pre-industrial GHG levels over time and that not acting allows the worst for either choice. We end up with:

    Climate Change is existential threat/Do something: Result is 2c or lower; society remains intact; quality of life is good (evens out a bit with some now “poorer” and others now “richer” but there are still considerable “class” differences).

    Climate Change is existential threat/Do nothing: Result is eventual major disruptions to social fabric, economics, ecology, Sixth Great Extinction – likely including humans.

    Climate Change is *not* an existential threat/Do something: Result is a world based on sustainable systems, which not only deals with climate, but overshoot (note overshoot isn’t even addressed in this risk assessment in order to keep things simple).

    Climate Change is *not* an existential threat/Do nothing: Result is BAU. Whether you consider this neutral or positive would depend on your understanding of the global society. (Considering we are considered to be in overshoot by many, this would actually qualify as a negative outcome for me, but we’ll count it as neutral.)

    Summary: Do nothing risks existential threat or continued overshoot. Do something means avoiding existential threat and possibly moving to sustainable societal choices.

    As you can see, this simple thought experiment is all we need to do to make this choice. The devil is in the details, but that would require getting into other areas of discussion. The actions taken can be worked out and decided so long as there is agreement to act. There is no viable logic for not acting.

    There is no science to support you, there is no risk assessment logic to support you.

    Welcome to reality.

    That is not to say the science is not worth pursuing, it is. In fact, discontinuing the science might prove fatal, but, it is not necessary to add to our knowledge base to make the decision to act. The balance of the science is indisputable. That is not a point I am willing to argue with you any more than I would argue the non-existence of Santa Claus – neither climate denial nor Santa have any basis in fact.

    The question lies in what to do. Your argument, already stated, is that we just don’t know enough. I have already shown that to be logically fallacious. However, it is arguable as to how much to do and how quickly. but not really. The worst case parameter of the existential threat make it a moot point: the worst case is so bad it is stupid not to take every possible precaution. What many people fail to consider is that it is not the eventual outcome that will get us, it will be the non-linear and chaotic responses along the way that will leave us in a shambles long before we get to, say, 6 – 10C warmer. The Texas drought shows us why. given the entire Southern tier of the US is projected to possibly become desert, what we’ve seen in Texas is a baby in comparison. It’s only been a year! Restoring the top soil organic content, the moisture, will take time. If those people were not tied into a global grid of food production, we’d have starvation in Texas now. Think about that. then think about it happening all across the US from So Cal to Georgia. That alone is a massive disruption to food production. imagine the ripple effects. Look at the Russian heat wave, the severe flooding in various areas of the planet. And we are *just getting started.*

    Each of these spikes, or “anomalous” events creates greater weakness in the system, creates greater insecurity and greater fragility. As the events pile up and, as systems theory tells us, begin to cascade, what happens? We are currently experiencing a ratio of 2:1 or more of new high heat records to cool temp records. And we’re just getting started.

    So, consider your position carefully. It is untenable – and that’s the positive spin on it.

    Comment by ccpo — 27 Nov 2011 @ 8:33 AM

  433. Great analysis ccpo

    Comment by DrTskoul — 27 Nov 2011 @ 9:23 AM

  434. Re #426: Robert Bradley, Congratulations on winning a popularity contest after presenting the views of the fossil-fuel-industry-funded Institute for Energy Research that you represent ( http://en.wikipedia.org and /wiki/Institute_for_Energy_Research http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php?id=115 http://www.desmogblog.com/institute-energy-research-admits-it-was-behind-anti-wind-study ). I find it interesting that you are so concerned that the government unbalances the playing field when it subsidizes renewables but you seem to have no concern about subsidies for oil exploration, for example.

    However, I think you might be concluding a little too much from your “win”.

    Comment by Joel Shore — 27 Nov 2011 @ 9:26 AM

  435. Salamano, You conveniently ignored the other portion of my post–that most climate scientists are satisfied with the job the IPCC has done as summarizing the consensus. I tend to agree that you can read the IPCC summaries and get a pretty fair summary of the current consensus in climate science. But the IPCC doesn’t define the consensus any more than a good court reporter defines a court case.

    If you really want to understand consensus in science, you have to look at the ideas, theories and techniques used in the publications and at which publications are being cited. If a paper is immediately embraced by one’s peers, it is a good indication that it really does something to further understanding. If it sits there like a dog turd on a New York sidewalk, it is a pretty good indication of its value as well.

    The success of a scientist depends on his or her ability to advance understanding of their subject. Period. Scientists may be ideological. However, if your ideology interferes with your ability to embrace new theories and techniques (e.g. Einstein and quantum theory), then your output and your influence will suffer.

    The role of CO2 in climate is not controversial in the least among scientists, because that role is essential to understanding the behavior of Earth’s climate over eons. Don’t believe me? Look at the patetic output of the scientists who reject the consensus model.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Nov 2011 @ 9:34 AM

  436. #426 Rob Bradley

    That folks are not buying climate alarmism on the merits and that government failure must be balanced against market failure.

    Your inputs are rather obviously are not entered correctly.

    You are weighing market failure and government failure against climate alarmism.

    You should be weighing market and government failure with climate change impact scenarios.

    And yes, just as all economic assessments are done, you will have to use models.

    My question to you is why are you doing assessments based on opinions rather than economic data and scenario potential? Or is this only a policy advocacy organization?

    http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Nov 2011 @ 12:49 PM

  437. ThinkingScientist @ #356

    I’m not convinced that the evidence for a breach of FOI law at CRU is as strong as you suggest (although I stress that I’m no expert!).

    First of all, as Gavin pointed out above, IPCC matters are not covered by FOI law. I can confirm, having checked the ICO’s guidance for higher education and research, that UK FOI law is framed such that only information directly related to the business of the public body (UEA in this case) is covered by the law. So emails and data relating to a third party such as the IPCC are indeed exempt. I believe that the emails requested related to IPCC matters and as such were exempt.

    It does appear to be an offence to delete emails which have been the subject of an FOI request, but it’s hard to see how an offence has been committed when they were exempt from disclosure in the first place!

    There are also exemptions for “safe space” (to discuss issues and reach decisions without external comment/media involvement) and “chilling effect” (loss of frankness in discussion).

    So UEA were entitled to argue against the ICO’s claim of “prima facie” evidence that an offence had been committed. An investigation might well have found that it had not.

    Comment by Paul Briscoe — 27 Nov 2011 @ 12:54 PM

  438. 306, Jeffrey Davis: And (most importantly) why not? We deal with the life around us with the tools we have.

    I agree: why not base policy on models, at least if they have been shown to be accurate enough? But read the comment I responded to, where it was asserted that models are not used to support policy recommendations.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 27 Nov 2011 @ 1:15 PM

  439. Re #426: All that debate shows is that economists don’t know much. One wonders if that debate included such facts as

    1. Fossil fuels are subsidized at greater than a 6:1 rate over renewables? http://www.businessinsider.com/international-energy-agency-report-2011-11#renewable-subsidies-need-to-increase-5

    2. That the full costs of Fossil Fuels are not included in costs to the consumer, i.e., the health costs and other costs to society? (Hint: if the full costs of fossil fuels were included renewables would be cheaper.) http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/02/16/207534/life-cycle-study-coal-harvard-epstein-health/

    3. Acknowledged the massive slander campaign against climate science (which is nothing short of a mentally imbalanced stance in the first place, e.g. literally denying reality; putting profits before health, safety, society and the future of us all; asking for subsidies even as record profits line your coffers)?

    4. the costs of mitigation are constantly exaggerated, are always equated to maintaining current consumption, which is not an option due to resource depletion, rather than replacing the much smaller level of consumption necessary to get back within the carrying capacity of the planet…?

    Next time, contact and include Steve Keen in your debates for a nice touch of sane discussion. And, yes, I am stating, not suggesting, all of the behaviors listed a above are maladaptive, selfish and dangerous.

    Comment by ccpo — 27 Nov 2011 @ 1:33 PM

  440. Re: #425 Susan Anderson,
    Your sentiments are admirable, Susan, about suggesting books for ‘persistent queriers’ here.

    However, I have debated Climate Change on a UK rightwing political forum for nearly 7 years now and I have regularly suggested to those who deliberately ignore the vast scientific consensus on the Anthropogenic cause to read those books, and others.
    They won’t – because they cannot come to terms with their ‘denial’ problems.

    Old age and experience of internet debates has made me very cynical, so I also suggest many of your persistent queriers, (a nice phrase if I might say so), may not be ‘honest’ skeptics.

    Comment by Clippo (UK) — 27 Nov 2011 @ 3:17 PM

  441. Fascinating. I chose to use “economical with the truth” after looking up spelling of lying as I wanted to avoid being excessively honest and give the fake skeptics some wiggle room.

    I agree that pricing carbon at its true worth is problematic, but as long as dirty energy is advantaged over clean energy, there is a problem. As long as people spread false information, the general population is being led by the nose down a path to their severe detriment. Those who, naively or not, follow their leaders in this effort are complicit in this crime against humanity.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 27 Nov 2011 @ 3:38 PM

  442. Some things just really crack me up,

    cop this contortion of logic at Jo Nova blog.

    In the high powered risky game of whistleblowing there are ways to make the the leaker a less attractive target.

    Pointman analyzes the ClimateGate whistleblower’s tactics and explains why he, she or they probably released those other 200,000 emails but kept them hidden behind the 4000-8000 character almost unbreakable password. He points out there are no emails released yet between key scientists and people in power, hence the worst, most damaging emails may be kept under a ” dead man’s hand detonator”. If politicians are afraid of what might be in those released-but-hidden emails, they may not want to expose or attack the whistleblower for fear of unleashing the other emails. The hidden emails buy the whistleblower protection.

    Jo

    ,

    Comment by john byatt — 27 Nov 2011 @ 3:54 PM

  443. Peter Dunkelberg @416 – thanks for a very clear comment on how science works

    Comment by Louise Doughty — 27 Nov 2011 @ 4:01 PM

  444. It is(does appear to be(inyho)) an offence to delete emails which have been the subject of an FOI request,
    Thats the important part in this case… and its something other public funded organisations have to do every day of the week in the UK. I sispect the BBC for example may well be the recipient of some new requests related to this topic

    Comment by PKthinks — 27 Nov 2011 @ 4:14 PM

  445. #432 ccpo Risk assessment

    There is one thing you do not address (at least explicitly) in your risk assessment, which is the probability of the different climate scenarios. As it happens, we are nearly certain that the outcome of ‘no action’ (BAU) will be disastrous, which makes it imperative to deal with the problem.

    People take out fire insurance against 1 in 10000 odds (or something like that). So why not take insurance (spend a few percent of GDP) against a disaster that has a probability of over 50% ? It’s a no-brainer really.

    The 4-box square argument is made in much more detail by Greg Craven. See http://www.gregcraven.org/

    Comment by DIck Veldkamp — 27 Nov 2011 @ 4:55 PM

  446. I concur, along with DrTskoul, that ccpo at #432 has put forth a good analysis of what mankind finds itself up against.

    The likelihood of us putting any effective policy in place to combat the undoubted ill effects of burning all that fossil fuel is, unfortunately, zilch. Too much mazooma involved concerning the fossil fuel status quo, and you also can’t argue that it’s cheaper than renewables, at least in the short to medium term (and, of course, ignoring all the external costs, which we are wont to do).

    Hansen is almost certainly correct: we’re destined to dig it all up and burn it, tar sands and all. The tragedy of the commons is our lot… unless some absolute climate shocker comes out of nowhere to wake us all up.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 27 Nov 2011 @ 5:48 PM

  447. Ray Ladbury (402):

    Still can’t reconcile the contents of 4712 with your claim of being ambiguous for readability, namely:
    “The point here is to have something that we can fall back on if anyone criticizes *any* specific input series”.

    Also if you have pointers/guidelines on use of “Constructive ambiguity” in science rather than pointing to work you see as overly precise.

    [Response: For what it's worth, I don't see any role for deliberate ambiguity in scientific papers. It is always much better to be precise about what is meant. I also note that the authors of the EOS paper in question obviously felt the same way (collectively) since the caption to Figure 2 in the published version reads:

    Fig. 2. Temporal histories of nine temperature-sensitive proxy records, chosen to illustrate a variety of proxy types, NH locations, and spatial and seasonal representation. All series have been smoothed with a 40-year low-pass filter, then normalized so that the filtered series have unit standard deviation over 1251-1980 (when all series have data) and the unfiltered series (to avoid edge effects of the filter) have zero mean over 1961-1990 (to facilitate comparison with Figure 1). Series have been offset by steps of 7 standard deviations for display purposes. Blue (red) shading indicates filtered values below (above) the 1961-1990 means (the latter are shown by thin horizontal lines). Original sources for each series are: "Western U.S."/Mann et al., 1999];”Chesapeake Bay”/Cronin et al., 2003];”W.Greenland”/Fisher et al., 1996];”Tornetrask” /Grudd et al., 2002];”Low Countries”[van Engelen et al., 2001];”Yamal”/Hantemirov and Shiyatov, 2002, reprocessed in Briffa, 2000]; “Taimyr”/Naurzbaev et al., 2002];”Mongolia” /D’Arrigo et al., 2001]; and “China”[Yang et al., 2002].

    … and the word ‘quality’ does not appear anywhere in the entire text. – gavin]

    Comment by climatebeagle — 27 Nov 2011 @ 6:13 PM

  448. Septic Matthew,
    A scientific model is not a representation of reality. It is a simplified system in which we can determine the important factors in the real system and understand their interplay. It is the insight yielded by the models that should guide policy–not the model itself.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Nov 2011 @ 7:23 PM

  449. “Hansen is almost certainly correct: we’re destined to dig it all up and burn it, tar sands and all. The tragedy of the commons is our lot… unless some absolute climate shocker comes out of nowhere to wake us all up.”

    Is it worth mentioning that we will not “dig it all up”? We are only able to recover a very small fraction of the hydrocarbons in the ground. The vast majority of it (not citing a percentage because I don’t know) will not be economically feaseable to extract.

    But Hansen is probably right, we will extract it so long as it’s the most economical source we have available.

    No comfort for those who still think combustion will be the death of us all.

    Comment by David Wright — 27 Nov 2011 @ 8:44 PM

  450. Any context on this thread – which might be interpreted to constitute a coordinated effort to have someone dismissed for not following the party line?

    http://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/climategate-2-and-corruption-of-peer-review/

    [Response: The issue has nothing to do with not 'following the party line', but rather of being guilty of appalling editorial practices, whereby papers were published with claims that were not justified by the analysis, or that were accepted almost 'as is' regardless of the views of referees. Hans von Storch in email 2106: "For me it is important that we admit that the result of the review process of Soon & Baliunas was insufficient", and noting the pattern "We should have been more vigilant after we had seen that actually two critical comments were written on the first Soon paper" (also handled by de Freitas). The corruption here was de Frietas, not anyone who responded. - gavin]

    Comment by ZT — 27 Nov 2011 @ 9:11 PM

  451. DW…you must be out of your MIND. Who said combustion will be the death of us all??? Another straw-man argument!! Pacific islanders might have their whole way of life destroyed with a foot of water rise or even less. Mediterranean countries are in danger to become semi-arid which is going to be a tremendous economical calamity. They might not “die” but definitely they are going to suffer. And no this is not a natural phenomenon neither is going to be good for us. Get your head out of (-snip-) (self-censorship).

    Comment by DrTskoul — 27 Nov 2011 @ 9:15 PM

  452. Many thanks for the response on the de Freitas article. Within the context of climatology, is it normal for sets of climatologists to group to together to complain about individuals to their bosses?

    E.g. Jim Salinger’s comment below appears to be a direct solicitation to colleagues to the detriment of someone holding an opposing scientific opinion.

    “My suggestion is that a band of you review editors write directly to Professor Hood with your concerns.”

    [Response: Of course it is not 'normal'! It is exceedingly rare. Obviously, in this case they felt that the abuses of the editor went well beyond the pale. Note that the complaint here had nothing to do with 'scientific opinion' but rather with scientific standards.--eric]

    Comment by ZT — 27 Nov 2011 @ 11:15 PM

  453. David Wright, you seem quite the cornucopian. It’s all a land of infinite milk and honey (and economic growth) to you. Anything other than the present way of life is unimaginable, and will lead us back to the caves. To you, only FF burning can give us electricity, computing and mass transit. Back in the real world, resources are limited, some resources are damaging, and new technology is available to move the world forwards. Smog, ozone depletion, acid rain. All were serious problems that were the consequences of our industrialisation and rapid growth, and all tackled with appropriate controls on the relevant emissions. CO2 is the next one that is indisputably a serious problem, and we have the technology to make a transition off it. In fact making the transition will lead to an economic boom of its own, as well as leading to better energy security.

    Or are you like the stables and farriers of the late 19th/early 20th Century, suggesting that the new-fangled technology of motorised transportation will never lead to anywhere, lead to terrible job losses and economic disaster?

    It looks a lot like the sloppy seconds of emails is really a non-story, indicative of nothing more than the desperation and dishonesty of the deniers. Somebody should offer Phil Jones a thoroughly deserved relaxing holiday while the dross is cleared from his doorstep.

    Comment by skywatcher — 28 Nov 2011 @ 12:09 AM

  454. Many thanks indeed for your response. Were the scientific standard problems encountered by the people that Salinger was soliciting, similar to the problems which caused climatologists to consider withdrawing Pat Michael’s thesis (as revealed in the climategate1.0 emails)? I’m just looking for some sense of context. Is this the type of endeavor which climatologists engage in once in every thousands emails, once in five thousand emails, or more or less regularly, than that? (Or is it difficult to quantify ‘exceedingly rare’?)

    [Response: Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Soon and Baliunas paper being discussed was a shoddy piece of work, by any reasonable standard. Less than perfect work gets published all the time, but usually it at least appears reasonable at first glance. S&B did not even rise to that standard; hence the various people you are referring to being upset by the shoddy quality of editorial. This is exceedingly rare -- if you want a number, I would say hazard around once per 10,000 papers get this sort of attention.

    I've no clue about what may or may not have happened with Pat Michael's thesis, and I'm not very interested. (Has it ever occurred to you that reading people's private email correspondence is simply not very interesting to most people?). I doubt very much that anything meaningful was 'revealed' by what you call "climate gate 1.0" except what those who released the emails wanted you to believe, despite the lack of evidence.

    "Climatologists" are not a monolithic bunch, so I really cannot speak to what "they" do. I can make an educated guess though, as could you. Try this: this particular group was annoyed with what they felt was the unprofessional behavior of others, so they discussed it. One cannot read anything into it beyond that. Please stop trying to find something that isn't there. Meanwhile, you might read up on history, which you seem very interested in repeating. --eric]

    Comment by ZT — 28 Nov 2011 @ 12:19 AM

  455. Many thanks indeed for your response, Eric. In terms of the ‘reasonable at first glance’ criterion, how would you compare the Soon and Baliunas’ paper with AE Dessler’s recent paper in Science, which made much of a regression coefficient statistically indistinguishable from zero. Was Dessler’s paper reasonable at first glance?

    I’m puzzled by you accusing me of McCarthyism – I’m simply asking for the contextual interpretation of pieces of factual evidence (presuming that the emails are genuine) which this thread offered to provide. But, that puzzlement aside, I’m most interested in any context you can provide in the comparison between Dessler and Soon and Baliunas, in terms of their scientific standard and the review treatment each received.

    [Response: This is a pretty transparent attempt to divert a conversation onto a paper that has nothing whatsoever to do with the situation, but is simply one you think poor. Well tough. The issue here is the egregiously bad scientific standards in S&B i.e. 1) Defining a problem so loosely that nothing robust could ever be concluded, 2) concluding what they wanted regardless of the fact that it did not logically follow from the analysis. This is compounded by egregious mis-interpretations of other people's work, republishing essentially the same paper in E&E, disgraceful over-selling of their results etc. This only got through review in the shape it did because the editor wanted it to. That this happened with numerous papers that de Frietas handled (including ones by Michaels, and Soon) speaks to a systematic pattern, not just a single aberration. Many people had concerns prior to this incident (Wolfgang Cramer has resigned over a previous incident, Hulme and von Storch and Clare Goodess all expressed themselves clearly). Note too that HvS didn't resign because of the paper itself, but because the journal was not (in his eyes) learning from the debacle in ways that would prevent future problems. - gavin]

    Comment by ZT — 28 Nov 2011 @ 12:50 AM

  456. As a little experiment I’ve made some comments here and on Climate Audit, in both cases expressing a cautious but quite careful approach that expresses no commitment to the ‘other side’. The result is quite interesting (I think): contributors on both sides are absurdly swift to criticise and deride /anyone/, or whatever background they claim, who express /anything/ less than wholehearted commitment to the cause.

    This is – I think – a serious issue for you here. There’s a tendency here (not shared by the other lot) to assume that /all/ educated half-intelligent life-forms should be able to follow their way through the ideological shit-storm simply by trusting in the light of science. Yet where I come from (the UK), we know that most people ‘believe’ in evolution, but most people can’t actually articulate what it is accurately, or even begin to describe how it might work. The expectation that everyone should simply be able to go out educate themselves and then they’ll see that climate science is trustworthy is simply naïve: the belief that the other side must be stupid is also demonstrably erroneous.

    The reason the email hack matters – and it really really matters, whatever people here may like to think – is that it’s designed to provide a narrative that ‘normal’ folk (a category that unfortunately includes too many university professors) can recognise: and the story about corruption and hypocrisy provides a foundation from which plenty of people are choosing which ‘side’ to favour. Plenty of people who formerly accepted AGW don’t any more: because they simply didn’t get the science in the first place.

    Real Climate is not winning its battles. This may very often be because of what goes on in these comments. Every single time some wise-guy scorns or condescends to an honest punter with genuine questions, there’s going to be collateral damage, because more people read this stuff than comment – and more people will understand the comments than some of the articles. It is /precisely/ the tendency of scientists to condescend to laymen that is mucking this up for you. Educated people in western countries do not get science. Wake up and realise this, and you may work out how to make your messages work better. But right here, in this strand, you can see well-meaning people being actively discouraged, and coming away with the reasonable impression that scientists are arrogant berks who need to be taken down a peg. In know you get a lock of flack here: but if the faithful don’t stay courteous to those who haven’t made up their minds yet, you’re shooting yourselves in the foot.

    Comment by Jon — 28 Nov 2011 @ 5:08 AM

  457. #449 David Wright

    No comfort for those who still think combustion will be the death of us all.

    Your focus on extremes is a dead giveaway to your propensity for argument to emotion.

    It is also a red herring as it distracts from the real issues. Most unfortunate that reasoned discussion is not your focus.

    But why do you focus on the extremes? To what purpose?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Nov 2011 @ 5:14 AM

  458. 455 ZT

    Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen is definitely exercising bias in E&E.

    But the light of truth is often a bitter pill to take. In time the light shines even in the darkest corners.

    It’s the bias of those that don’t understand that is preventing even you from understanding the science in context.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Nov 2011 @ 5:19 AM

  459. Timg56 says
    What I am willing to do because of that uncertainty is to consider courses of action to take, on the condition that the more drastic the course, the more evidence be provided as to the certainty of how non-beneign the impacts will be. In moving from the realm of science to the realm of policy, I expect the former to provide me with solid information on which I can base my decisions.
    ————-
    what’s missing from the discussions of risk so far is the concept of reversibility. If we take economic action against climate change and it proves to be ill- founded then we can change the policy on a very short time scale. Total recovery would take 5-10 years. On the other hand if taking no action is ill-founded we will never ever recover.

    [Response: But we have already effectively irreversibly altered atmospheric CO2 and we continue to do so. None of us will see an actual decrease in CO2, regardless of policies adopted. - gavin]

    Comment by LazyTeenager — 28 Nov 2011 @ 7:53 AM

  460. @456 Being a layman, and generally a lurker, here for several years I simply don’t recognise this characterisation

    “Every single time some wise-guy scorns or condescends to an honest punter with genuine questions, there’s going to be collateral damage…”

    ‘Honest punters’, in my experience get kid glove handling from regulars such as Hank Roberts et al. Dishonest and recalcitrant punters (and pompous ones, ring any bells?), get shorter shrift.

    Comment by Joe Cushley — 28 Nov 2011 @ 8:32 AM

  461. Jon:

    In [sic] know you get a lock of flack here: but if the faithful don’t stay courteous to those who haven’t made up their minds yet, you’re shooting yourselves in the foot.

    Ooh, tone troll is tone trolling; news at 11.

    If there’s one thing I know, it’s that clarity is more important than sweet-talking.

    If scientists state their message clearly, succintly, and frequently, people will get the message (and even if they don’t like it, it will sink in).

    If scientists try to sugar-coat their message with lots of pleasantries, it may sound nice, but there’s no guarantee that people will discern the message itself. But what’s the point of wrapping up a message if people won’t get the message?

    And the message here is that the climate inactivists are chock-full of illogical nonsense that anyone who’s wide awake can see through straight away. As I said before, it doesn’t take a Nobel Prize physicist to figure out that ‘Global warming, I mean climate change, was invented by Al Gore!’ is pure, unadulterated, counter-factual nonsense.

    Why do you want people to obscure plain facts such as these?

    – frank

    Comment by frank -- Decoding SwiftHack — 28 Nov 2011 @ 8:38 AM

  462. Many thanks for the response, Gavin. I was simply trying to obtain the Real Climate perspective on the de Freitas thread, and the ‘reasonable at first glance’ term that was introduced by Eric, and I felt that perhaps this term could do with some definition, in case one might think it arbitrary, or mean ‘in keeping with the consensus’. I’m not sure why this should be regarded as a transparent attempt at diversion, or McCarthyism! Elsewhere (e.g. Cook and Bradley, people are entitled to their opinions, are they not?).

    [Response: ZT: the reference to McCarthyism was to make the point that you seem to think it worthwhile trying to guess what you assume are people's underlying hidden agendas are by going through their mail. As I said, look it up. If you don't see yourself in the mirror, clean the mirror. The point is that the entire idea that you can learn something about the scientific process, the peer review process, or the science itself in this manner is ridiculous. This obvious fact seems to have escaped many self-styled 'sympathizers' as well as the denialosphere. It's really quite appalling and it is precisely what happened during the McCarthy era. Really want to understand how science works? Go to grad school and become a scientist. Or barring that, at least try to engage with scientists without presuming that they have 'something to hide' (those are your words, not mine).--eric]

    Comment by ZT — 28 Nov 2011 @ 9:47 AM

  463. It reminds me of a slumlord we had in the 1970s, who always responded quickly with a longer letter – it didn’t matter if you were polite or rude, factual or humorous. His goal was to bury you in paper, so you would give up.

    I joined these wars in the mid oughts because I was shocked at the promotion of ignorance and nonsense, and was startled at the level of vituperation in the air. How dared I present facts? How dared I not change my mind in the face of personal criticism? If I should slip in a buried sentence in one paragraph, an essay was written on the slip. If I didn’t slip, my words were subtly altered and I was misquoted. Since then, the fake skeptic movement and its fellow travelers, with their vast background promoted and supported by wealthy financial interests, have studied how science is done and produced material that is difficult to parse, sciencey looking and full of references, often excessively polite. It may be dirty underneath, but its surface is shiny and popular. Makeup, really.

    The people here have decided that a patient exposition of the facts is worth having, and no matter how ineffective that might be, it is an ethical challenge to others to politely stick to the truth. Blaming them for daring to continue to stand firm with the vast majority of the scientific community and every credible authority in the world may be effective tactics, but it will not change the truth one iota.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 28 Nov 2011 @ 9:54 AM

  464. dailytech.com ‘s Jason Mick is really starting to become irrational… I wish there were better responses in the comments.

    http://www.dailytech.com/Climatologists+Trade+Tips+on+Destroying+Evidence+Evangelizing+Warming/article23368.htm

    and this editorial from him:
    http://www.dailytech.com/Editorial+Full+Emails+Show+Climategate+20+is+More+Than+Just+Hot+Air/article23370.htm

    Comment by dmaz — 28 Nov 2011 @ 10:12 AM

  465. Peter Watts’s Climategate posting (anthologized as one of the 50 Best Science Blogging Posts of the Year for 2009) is the best rebuttal to tone trolling.

    (If the blog software messes up those links, it’s at http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=886 )

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Nov 2011 @ 10:24 AM

  466. #462 ZT

    Then you don’t understand McCarthyism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Nov 2011 @ 12:33 PM

  467. # 230 anna haynes

    I just noticed this upthread regarding my ‘models are wrong’ page on OSS:

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/models-can-be-wrong

    I don’t recall any time when being honest and direct impeded understanding in my discourses. In my experience, it helps to be both honest and direct.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Nov 2011 @ 12:35 PM

  468. Gavin’s inline response to LazyTeenager, #459 was too hasty, and missed the point.

    LazyTeenager was talking about our ability to try policy responses, and several years later make adjustments or reversals of those policies. More might be said in response or rebuttal, but the point was basically reasonable, and Gavin was rebutting some other point, not what was said here.

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 28 Nov 2011 @ 12:54 PM

  469. Jon @ #456

    I too find your characterisation of this site inaccurate.

    Just to explain, I too am from the UK. I have a PhD, albeit in a very different field of science. I have a reasonable grounding in basic science, yet having followed this site and Skeptical Science for over 2 years and having read a lot of the relevant scientific literature, I am still painfully aware that I will NEVER know as much about climate science as the guys who research the field. It is extraordinarily complex science (this is not intended to be patronising, as I don’t pretend to understand it all myself!) and it is impossible to evaluate it correctly without taking into account ALL of the facts – this is the aspect that lets down most non-experts when trying to draw conclusions.

    Another thing I know as a scientist is that the only reliable way of evaluating science is to read the peer-reviewed literature – that is the way science works and for good reasons. Most bloggers shun the scientific literature, choosing instead to believe blogs which tell them what they want to hear. IMHO, if people are unwilling (or unable) to read what the scientific literature actually says, it is disingenuous of them to pretend that they have anything positive to contribute to the “debate”. I would imagine that this is why many of the regular posters here, who DO know their subject, show their irritation at the constant stream of myths and pseudo-science put about by fake skeptics.

    The bottom line for bloggers is this: if they can’t be bothered to read the scientific literature and base their arguments on that, it’s time to leave the debate to the people who do know what they’re talking about and TRUST THEIR EXPERT JUDGEMENT……… in just the same way as you would trust the surgeon who might one day save your life!

    If you haven’t already done so, might I suggest that you go and watch Potholer54’s excellent series of videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/potholer54#p/u

    These give the best layperson’s guide I’ve ever seen regarding how to correctly evaluate science. You’ll note that Potholer, like me, doesn’t claim to be an expert, but he draws the correct conclusions because he relies solely on the scientific literature rather than the “McExperts”!

    You should try to apply Potholer’s methods when comparing this site with the “auditing” site you mentioned. If you couple that with a close attention to detail and a dose of true scepticism, you might spot the obvious flaws in the claims made elsewhere and start to realise the true value of this site.

    Comment by Paul Briscoe — 28 Nov 2011 @ 12:57 PM

  470. Jon@456,

    Do you have any actual evidence either that public opinion has shifted markedly against acceptance of the scientific consensus; or that if this is the case, that the response of sites such as RealClimate to “honest punters” (how exactly do you know they are honest?) has anything to do with it, rather, than, say, the extremely well-funded propaganda machines aimed at deceiving the public by misrepresenting the state of the science?

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 28 Nov 2011 @ 1:17 PM

  471. Comment by skywatcher — 28 Nov 2011 @ 12:09 AM

    “453.David Wright, you seem quite the cornucopian. It’s all a land of infinite milk and honey (and economic growth) to you.”

    I am an optomist, no doubt about it. It seems a lot of folks here are pessimists, hence the conflict of opinion. Nature has provided us with more than we deserve, so the basis for optomism is there for all to see.

    Many more of our advances have resulted from optomism than from pessimism. The discovery of the new world is but one example.

    We lack positive goals today. The cancellation of our human spaceflight program is but one example of that. We are more focused on fears than on exploration. Fear is a very unproductive emotion and there is a too much of it going around. Much more than necessary IMHO.

    No, I do not believe that economic growth will continue forever. There will be bad times, but the best tool for growth is optomism. Pessimism and fear assure mediocrity or worse.

    Comment by David Wright — 28 Nov 2011 @ 1:25 PM

  472. My, a lot can happen in a short time here (460+ posts in a week!) – one might think some of us had holiday free time to fill…;)

    Shortly before he ran off to other playgrounds, DW (@365, Nov 26) responded to the analogy of GW as a semi on the icy road ahead: “The semi bearing down is a belief, same as my belief that life on earth is getting much better since the last ice age, and based upon the current trend, it will likely continue to do so for a long while to come.” Good analogy for denial-ism, but an unfortunate image in the consequence… Imagining the disappearance of a looming collision won’t stop the brute force of impact.

    The notion of “belief” is key to understanding the looking-glass world lived in by Mr Wright and others. Science beyond-our-comprehension becomes equivalent to religion, and subject to choice (as opposed to the hard work of fussing with the math). Once free to choose, why pick the painful option?

    That dynamic pitches the faithful (where belief in spite of contrary evidence is ultimate proof of faith) vs people who chase scientific methods and models as independent, imperfect reflections of a real world. When the scientists jostle and plot amongst themselves (as good humans do), that’s just more reason to discount the outcome.

    Like Susan Anderson, I’ve lurked along here for a few years, and have consistently been impressed by the patience of the moderators. I have -not- seen “honest punters with genuine questions” treated with scorn or condescension. Far from it – Anyone listening in with ‘honest questions’ should feel free to ask, and should expect fair treatment with quick responses (although not always answers).

    Comment by phil mattheis — 28 Nov 2011 @ 1:30 PM

  473. #467 addendum

    Regarding the backfire effect: I can’t speak of those I do not revisit, but in my home town, for example, it has been some time since I delivered my presentation to my CAP squadron. They ask for updates on the understanding and when they do bring up a myth, I’ve heard comments like, ‘I just heard that…’ and when i give them the context they tend toward agreement and understanding.

    Possibly factors involved are method of delivery and message perception. I merely give them the relevant context to their questions and understanding ensues. For those trying to communicate climate science I highly recommend delivering the relevant context. It mitigates doubt while building confidence in the science.

    The hard ones to turn are those that believe it is a conspiracy. But even there I have experienced some success. I would say about 30% efficacy. But I do not focus on conspiracists.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Nov 2011 @ 1:55 PM

  474. Jon at #456 Maybe people just noticed the phoniness of your message and would not play along with your little thought experiment.

    Comment by Holly Stick — 28 Nov 2011 @ 2:19 PM

  475. #471 David Wright

    Science is not about optimism or pessimism. Maybe this is the mistake you are making.

    Science is about evidence and what that indicates when weighed in relevant context.

    Do you have any scientific evidence that “many more of our advances have resulted from optimism that form pessimism”.

    Actually pessimism is a great driver of innovation as in when one sees something is not working, one then innovates based on the negative to create a positive.

    Context is key.

    Pessimism about entire governments has led to great advances in democracy.

    Fear itself is a great driver of advancement as well as in I fear this may stop working if we don’t innovate new solutions to keep it working in the changing market system. Fear often inspires action as well.

    Your reliance on opinion or rosy pictures is cute, but it is not scientific.

    Again, its not about the power of positive thinking, it’s about evidence and reality.

    On your last point:

    the best tool for growth is optomism.

    I would argue that that attitude while beneficial in many ways has also fomented the market bubbles that have destabilized global market systems.

    Optimism does not increase the resource base of the planet in relation to growth and demand. It is non sequitur to and false logic to assume so.

    Again, context is key.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Nov 2011 @ 2:29 PM

  476. #456 Jon

    If I had a nickel for every time this argument of yours, which has been used to distract from the relevant topic on point.

    Look, I understand the problem of cognitive dissonance, but that does not take away from the facts.

    Due to the multitude of perspectives that exist in is quite impossible to appease every whim in order to reduce said dissonance. While it should be considered, it should not dictate the discussion turning it into a butt kissing love fest of ‘oh I understand you were deprived of scientific context in your education so let me sooth your misconceptions with the salve of polite discourse that brings no one nearer to the relevant points’.

    Poppycock. This is not a 60′s love-in. This is a discussion about the validity of the physics and observations in relation to socio-economics. This is a discussion about the ramifications of our collective actions and the risk ratios as well as cost/benefit ratios that will impact our reality.

    If you want warm and fuzzy hugs go to what is left of Haight Ashbury and see if you can find someone to hug you.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Nov 2011 @ 2:40 PM

  477. A trick to hide the context

    http://deepclimate.org/2011/11/28/a-trick-to-hide-the-context/

    … it is very clear that a new round of out-of-context quote mining and error-filled “analysis” is already unfolding. And the leader out of the gate, so to speak, appears to be Ross McKitrick, whose recent National Post piece on the IPCC and the latest batch of stolen emails is now being spread far and wide.

    In one particularly outrageous and error-filled passage, McKitrick accuses IPCC AR4 co-ordinating lead authors Phil Jones and Kevin Trenberth of selecting their team of contributing authors solely on the basis of whether they agree with the pair’s scientific views. He even goes so far as to accuse Jones of “dismissing” (i.e. rejecting as a contributing author) one qualified expert who, supposedly in Jones’s own words, “has done a lot, but I don’t trust him.”

    But the record clearly shows that it was Trenberth who made that last comment, and that he was expressing misgivings about the quality of the researcher’s work, not whether he was on the “right side” of scientific issues. And the expert in question, climatologist Joel Norris, was in fact selected by Trenberth as a contributing author. Even worse, McKitrick has reversed the order of the Jones quotes, taken them out of context, and then juxtaposed them to make it appear as if they were part of the same exchange. Meanwhile, an examination of the two separate email discussions show chapter co-ordinators trying to fill out their team with authors who will be able to contribute effectively, in complete contradiction to McKitrick’s central thesis.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 28 Nov 2011 @ 4:50 PM

  478. [Response: But we have already effectively irreversibly altered atmospheric CO2 and we continue to do so. None of us will see an actual decrease in CO2, regardless of policies adopted. - gavin]
    —————
    I think I was ambiguous. I was referring to economic recovery, as in restoring previous economic conditions, and not to restoring CO2 levels.

    [Response: I know. My point was that if you are worried about irreversibility, you are missing the biggest impacts of all. Compared the carbon cycle, economic decisions are rather ephemeral. - gavin]

    Comment by LazyTeenager — 28 Nov 2011 @ 4:50 PM

  479. @377 John Reisman

    This is a nice example of what fuels my questioning of why we have to be so worried about climate change.

    Regarding your questions on cost:

    - How much money will in cost to refit a single port as sea level rises?

    This question indicates a misunderstanding on how infrastructure is built and maintained. We are not going to see a need to totally revamp or rebuild port and shipping infrastructure all at once. I am involved in infrastructure. Decades ago utility power poles were 35 to 40 ft in length. Today the average is 45 – 50 ft. The reason, the growth in communications technology causing a dramatic increase in the number of attaching entities to a pole. Was the result of this change – one that is occuring much more rapidily than the predicted impacts from climate change – a wholesale replacement of utility poles around the nation? No. For the most part the replacement takes place during the course of normal utility activities. So to with port infrastructure. There are other factors with much greater influence impacting port infrastructure than rising sea levels.

    - How much will the inflation cost the monetary economy?

    Actually I can’t provide a response to this one because I don’t understand it. I also don’t see the connection to climate.

    -How much will in cost to move entire town and city populations more areas become less inhabitable,

    This is a good example of the alarmist school of thought. Exactly which cities and towns are going to have to move? What exactly will drive the move? New Orleans is already below sea level. It is also a city that experienced considerable devestation from weather related flooding. Last time I checked – it it was pretty recently as I’m chair of a conference that’s scheduled to be held there in March – the city is right where it always has been.

    - How much will it cost to adapt to to the changes?

    Adapt to what changes? There is the question – exactly what changes are we going to see? The cost could be having to switch from investing in snow ski’s or snowmobiles to water skis and jet ski’s. All we have to go on is the running of models out to a certain timeline and then extrapolating (or speculating) on what this will look like.

    - These are not hidden costs, they are occurring and increasingly expected costs. The cost of added CO2 is not an assumption it is an expectation. And this expectation is qualifiable. It is not mere opinion.

    The expected costs you refer to are all based on certain assumptions. They are only expected if the assumptions they are based on are accurate.

    Comment by timg56 — 28 Nov 2011 @ 4:58 PM

  480. #479 timg56

    Alarmist is a relative term. your usage in this context is inappropriate due to lack of context. So my question to you is why are you attending the alarmist school of thought?

    The confidence in the a assumptions are already reasonably high but you need to parse our which ones have higher and lower confidence.

    Infrastructure maintenance is dependent on availability of funds. In a strained economy it is more challenging, in a less stressed economy it is easier.

    Warmer temperatures impact crop productivity.

    http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Hearings/Energy/030811/Field.pdf

    The inflationary result then resonates throughout the rest of the relevant economic sectors thus reducing economic capacity in the monetary sector and increasing inflationary pressure.

    As to moving city populations that will depend on water availability. In the US for example we will see increasing stress in the south and southwest.

    http://www.gainesville.com/article/20111120/ARTICLES/111129989
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703841904576257114154787194.html
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17967097/ns/us_news-environment/t/scientists-predict-southwest-mega-drought/
    http://news.discovery.com/earth/american-southwest-drought-101213.html
    http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110223/full/news.2011.120.html

    We are already seeing changes in multiple areas. I could make a very long list here but your question merely reveals that you really have not looked into this much. Here are a few:

    - latitudinal shift of the jetstream
    - soil moisture content drop
    - accelerated loss of arctic and glacial ice (sea level rise/fresh water)
    - changes in precipitation
    - expansion of the Hadley cell
    - crop thermal limits increasingly exceeded

    The impact on the monetary economy is still small relatively speaking but not insignificant. The risks exist in the inertia of the increased radiative forcing and therefore it’s future impacts that are now baked into the cake so to speak.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Nov 2011 @ 5:44 PM

  481. “- How much money will in cost to refit a single port as sea level rises?”

    Where are most refineries located, and at what altitude above sea level?

    Comment by J Bowers — 28 Nov 2011 @ 5:51 PM

  482. “Where are most refineries located, and at what altitude above sea level?

    Comment by J Bowers — 28 Nov 2011 @ 5:51 PM”

    Good point, most are near sea level. Maybe the “problem” will self mitigate. That would sure be ironic!

    Comment by David Wright — 28 Nov 2011 @ 6:45 PM

  483. Oh, dear. I have just seen the response de Freitas made to this issue. It was quite simple: his director’s comment on the accusations against him. They assessed how he had dealt with the reviews.

    “Summary:

    Chris de Freitas has done a good and correct job as editor.”

    You’d better get yourselves some legal representation.

    [Response: Look at the date of that comment - 3 July 2003. Then look at the dates of everything else, including the resignations. They all happened afterwards - because the Kinne statement was not accepted at face value - and rightly so. Indeed, email 1719, reports that one reviewer definitely recommended rejection of S&B, and never saw the manuscript again to assess the appropriateness of the rewrite. And since the final paper was clearly flawed (conclusions not following from the analysis among other problems), no-one involved was reassured by Kinne's statements. Especially not Hans von Storch (email 2106), and it was the refusal of Kinne to consider the draft editorial and new practices, that in the end led to his resignation at the end of July (email 3013). This is a story about scientists standing up for standards, however you would like to twist it. - gavin]

    Comment by Doubting Rich — 28 Nov 2011 @ 6:52 PM

  484. John P. Reisman, Eric, Gavin, et al, I’m still at a loss trying to understand why asking about the context of strong criticism of someone’s position as an editor, should be regarded as McCarthyism. Wasn’t one of McCarthy’s weapons to deprive people who did not share his views of their positions?

    I also remain very confused on the original question. Apparently de Freitas did a good job as an editor (according to Otto Kinne, his director). (Details here). What then were the context(s) for the machinations concerning de Freitas discussed in the climategate 2.0 emails?

    [Response: See previous response. - gavin]

    Comment by ZT — 28 Nov 2011 @ 6:57 PM

  485. #41 Orson Presence

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume you don’t understand Gavin’s reply to you.

    RC or posters reply to ridiculously stupid posts by individuals in order to help others that come to this site to understand relevant context.

    hmmm… #45 Orson Presence

    Funny how I wrote what I did above, before I saw your #45 post, isn’t it.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Nov 2011 @ 8:02 PM

  486. “In vanquishing the conventional wisdom, sometimes it seems we have vanquished wisdom itself.”

    Bill Keller in “The Politics of the Age of Economics in the Age of Shouting”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/28/opinion/keller-the-politics-of-economicsthe-politics-of-economics.html

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 28 Nov 2011 @ 8:33 PM

  487. J Bowers.

    Very easy to answer. See how many Gulf refineries (Exxon, Marathon, Shell, BP, etc) were significantly impaired after the Gulf hurricanes since 2005. I personally know of at least 3 which sustained significant damage of electrical equipment. There only a few feet above see or lake or river level.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 28 Nov 2011 @ 9:01 PM

  488. > 483 Doubting Rich … Oh, dear. I have just
    > seen the response de Freitas made

    > 484 ZT … de Freitas did a good job …

    Which site rebunked that line without context in the last day or so?
    How many places has it been copypasted since?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Nov 2011 @ 10:50 PM

  489. “Last time I checked – it it was pretty recently as I’m chair of a conference that’s scheduled to be held there in March – [New Orleans] is right where it always has been.”

    Well, minus about 2/9ths of the population of the city proper. And AFAIK, they didn’t increase the height of the levees to account for sea level rise, despite the fact that you’d conservatively expect at least 8 cm over their projected lifetime.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Nov 2011 @ 12:30 AM

  490. Gavin, could you possibly help me understand your logic?

    On the one hand, a bad paper results in an attempt to have an editor fired and, on the other hand: ‘Bradley: “I’m sure you agree–the [Mike] Mann/ [Phil] Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year ‘reconstruction’.” [Response: Again, people are free to make their own judgements on papers. This was in 2003 (discussing Mann and Jones (2003)). - gavin]‘

    Could you explain succinctly when people are free to make their own judgments and when editors should be fired?

    Many thanks in advance.

    [Response: Once again you try and divert criticism of an egregious example (of which S&B was only a single instance) of editorial mal-practice into a crticism of another completely unrelated paper. The mal-practice at CR was blatant and repeated. Your logic appears to be based on the idea that if you can find another paper that someone criticised, that makes de Frietas' actions ok? Sorry, it doesn't. Editors at CR resigned because editorial integrity was compromised and their solutions to that were not accepted by the publisher. Find another example of that happening. Oh yes, at Remote Sensing earlier this year... - gavin]

    Comment by ZT — 29 Nov 2011 @ 12:41 AM

  491. I have been reading Realclimate for a long time now and am still at best think man has influenced climate but cAGW isn’t proved. I admit that I am not a scientist, though my experience of this site is that one of the kinder commenters will point this out to me with some vigour. Minor whinges aside the following really bugs me.

    “What astounds me is that in the same breath, you guys can look at criticism between scientists and claim there is no consensus, while at the same time invoking conspiracy to explain away the utter inability of denialists to produce a shred of evidence supporting their position. Doublethink at its finest.
    [Response: My bold. Well said Ray. Truly astounding, isn't it!?--eric]”

    Consensus: An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole
    Conspiracy: two or more persons
    Doublethink: the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct

    How is it that you persuade yourselves that you are about communicating science to lay persons. Please don’t be so rude. My experience of academia is a brief time in admin. The aggression and unpleasantness of academics may be a necessary aspect of the development of ideas but it seems however often you are told, you don’t get that it should stay in the cloisters. You treat your readers who don’t have Ivory Tower membership as “stupid” (yes I do know you claim otherwise but just maybe you aren’t the world’s experts on everything) and let them see how offensive you are to your enemies in academia.
    Stop it. It interferes with your message.

    [Response: Ros: My apologies for offending you. But please recognize that this sort of thing is not directed at readers generally, but at specific people who have said specific things. None of us are really at all rude to people that treat us with respect -- we just get a bit tired of being accused of being leftist tree hugging conspirators bent on destroying civilization. As for Hank Robert's specific comment: it *is* astounding what people think we are about.--eric ]

    Comment by Ros — 29 Nov 2011 @ 1:06 AM

  492. Thanks for the positive comments.

    Re: 445: I did address that: “Climate Change is existential threat/Do nothing: Result is eventual major disruptions to social fabric, economics, ecology, Sixth Great Extinction – likely including humans.”

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 29 Nov 2011 @ 3:34 AM

  493. “In conclusion: … CR should have been more careful and insisted on solid evidence and cautious formulations before publication.”
    – Otto Kinne, August 5th, 2003. ‘Climate Research: an article unleashed worldwide storms’. Climate Research Vol. 24: 197–198, 2003.

    The email to De Freitas is dated 3 July 2003.

    Comment by J Bowers — 29 Nov 2011 @ 4:29 AM

  494. If anyone wants to read Hans von Storch’s blocked editorial, it’s available from his explanation in 2009 (click on ‘editorial): The CR Problem

    (note to RC: the blog seems to flag Wayback Machine links as spam)

    Comment by J Bowers — 29 Nov 2011 @ 4:49 AM

  495. Since you aren’t getting the point at all, here is a question for you: Please explain how are you so sure that without the stimulus it would not have been much worse? Such a claim must involve some kind of model, no? – gavin

    Easy answer: the recession ended in June 2009, with q2 GDP down just 0.17%. At that point, we had spent just $81bn

    The big models said that spending another $800 bn would deliver a recovery. Epic fail, because the models are incomplete.

    The models can explain a lot about the past, but are useless for basing policy to spend trillions.

    As Ray Ladbury said here, the models can give insight into the past but can not give ‘the answer’

    [Response: I'm certainly not going to claim the economic models are perfect (not by a long shot), but you completely fail to see that you are using a model yourself - the 'no-numbers-everything-will-be-fine' model. How do you know what would have happened without the $800 bn? You seem to imply that it would all have gone exactly the same, but you really need a justification for that. What is it? - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 29 Nov 2011 @ 7:13 AM

  496. Richard Simons It seems to me that Hansen’s Scenario B was not that far out. Are you getting your information from denialist sites that concentrate on Scenario A, the one that he thought was unrealistic

    No, it’s a comparison with Scenario C, which is where the models pegged temps if we stopped emission growth.

    We didn’t waste trillions and have lower temps.

    Comment by Number9 — 29 Nov 2011 @ 7:19 AM

  497. Ray Ladbury

    40 out of 7,000,000,000 years? That’s your question?

    Comment by Number9 — 29 Nov 2011 @ 7:21 AM

  498. How do you know what would have happened without the $800 bn? You seem to imply that it would all have gone exactly the same, but you really need a justification for that. What is it?
    ….

    I’m not using a model to say it would be fine. I’m looking at the data and they say that the recession was over before we wasted all that ‘stimulus’ based on incomplete models.

    The models might be able to explain the past but they misread the present and gave the wrong policy for the future.

    Similarly, the data are telling us that temps have stopped rising and are still tracking below Hansen’s Scenario C. That implies that the models might need more work for policymaking. As we’ve seen, we were fortunate to not spend trillions; temps fell below Scenario C anyway.

    [Response: You continue to amaze me. Are you arguing that you have some super secret model that indicates that injecting ( $800bn into the economy | 9 GtC/yr into the atmosphere ) have no impacts on ( economic activity | radiative transfer )? That would indeed be news. If not, you must accept that both actions will affect ( economic activity | radiative transfer ) to some extent. Thus the issue must be that you are disputing the magnitude of those effects. You need to be able to answer the question "all else being equal, injecting ( $800bn into the economy | 9 GtC/yr into the atmosphere ) what impact will that have on ( economic activity | radiative transfer )?". Estimating that magnitude requires a model. Where is it? - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 29 Nov 2011 @ 8:47 AM

  499. Okay, I know this is veering way off topic, but Number9 keeps repeating right wing zombie lies about the stimulus. For example, we have

    The big models said that spending another $800 bn would deliver a recovery

    However, let’s look at what Paul Krugman said about the stimulus almost three years ago:

    The Obama Gap

    To close a gap of more than $2 trillion — possibly a lot more, if the budget office projections turn out to be too optimistic — Mr. Obama offers a $775 billion plan. And that’s not enough.

    and

    Stimulus arithmetic (wonkish but important)

    And that gets us to politics. This really does look like a plan that falls well short of what advocates of strong stimulus were hoping for — and it seems as if that was done in order to win Republican votes. Yet even if the plan gets the hoped-for 80 votes in the Senate, which seems doubtful, responsibility for the plan’s perceived failure, if it’s spun that way, will be placed on Democrats.

    I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we’re talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes. The plan limits the rise in unemployment, but things are still pretty bad, with the rate peaking at something like 9 percent and coming down only slowly. And then Mitch McConnell says “See, government spending doesn’t work.”

    Let’s hope I’ve got this wrong.

    The stimulus may have been oversold by certain politicians and may not have been implemented in the most effective manner, but this was a failure of politics not some “big model”.

    Comment by Nibi — 29 Nov 2011 @ 9:19 AM

  500. “We didn’t waste trillions and have lower temps.” – Number 9

    It doesn’t matter how many times the false claim that “we have lower temps” is repeated; it remains false.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 29 Nov 2011 @ 9:21 AM

  501. Hi Gavin, I’m not trying to divert anything. Could you possibly succinctly explain when people are longer free to make ‘their own judgements on papers’ and when collective action against editors becomes necessary?

    [Response: This really isn't very difficult. You always have the right to make your own judgement about papers. See, it's easy! RC is full of posts making judgements about papers that vary across the scale from great work, to interesting but flawed, to basically useless. It is a slightly different issue when papers are actually deceptive, or plagiarised, or have had obvious flaws passed through review. These things of course sometimes happen. But when a single editor makes it a habit, or a journal (like E&E) becomes a regular conduit for that kind of thing, the reputations of the editor and the journal are going to suffer. If you are associated with that journal and you are concerned about your reputation, I imagine some collective self-reflection is in order. You appear to forget that people can vote with their feet - why submit work to a journal that is sub-par? unless your work is also, and that is the only place to get it published. It doesn't take much to make a big difference in what gets submitted. So you can end up in a bind - act to stem the problem, or if that is impossible for whatever reason, wash your hands of it. The reasons why von Storch resigned are clearly articulated on his website, as are the reasons Wolfgang Warner resigned from Remote Sensing. In neither case was the 'right to form judgements on papers' remotely challenged. - gavin]

    Comment by ZT — 29 Nov 2011 @ 9:38 AM

  502. @460, 461, 469, 470, 472, 474, 478: yep, I deserved that: pompous; phoney; fuzzy; yes indeed. If you sound like one of the cockroaches, you get squished.

    But I’m not /exactly/ tone-trolling (so, go easy on the butt-kissing), and I do agree that the moderators of this site do an excellent job. If I’m too critical about treatment of agnostics here (and evidently my view is a minority one), then it’s because I’m deeply pessimistic about public engagement with science and the impact of the hack. Polls after the last one – in the UK, anyway – suggested there’d been a strong negative impact (no doubt my false recollection will now be corrected in triplicate…). There’s sufficient precedent for the power of anti-authoritarian fear-mongery not to let oneself think this isn’t a problem: vaccination uptake after the MMR debacle being a case in point (in which the power of a minority was completely disproportionate to its numerical size). If I’m conscious of the irony that as a non-scientist the best I can do is defer to authority, then this is exacerbated not by ignorance (I’ve been living with climatology for my whole life) but by the fact that the ready supply of climate scientists to whom I’m exposed at my place of work tends to steer me away from quiet acquiescence — and to see that a more critical position lies very far indeed from denial. (Which is why I linked to the article I chose, which I think could be a really useful model.) Other laymen are not so lucky and the distinction often remains less obvious. So, yes, tone does matter — if the point of the site you’re on is not merely to confirm the converted ignoramus like me. If that makes me a troll, then the only thing I can do is go back to lurking…

    Comment by Jon — 29 Nov 2011 @ 10:17 AM

  503. @163 Ray,

    RE your comment about supporting a global population of 10 billion and the planet’s carrying capacity – the track record on claims of doom from overpopulation isn’t very good. Paul Erlich got it wrong, as did Tommy Malthus before him. It wasn’t that long ago that we were hearing that the planet couldn’t support 6 billion people. Were that true, we would never have made it to the curent 7 billion.

    I have to wonder at the lack of faith in mankind’s ability to adapt. That track record is well established. You say we are doing irreversible harm to the carrying capacity of the planet. Yet we have seen a reduction in the amount of land being used for agriculture and an increase in crop yields. That tells us we are in fact increasing the carrying capacity, not reducing it.

    You say “Climate change–due to drought and the general downward trend of crop yields with temperature–will be decreasing productivity.” Disregarding the fact that there is no identified link between increasing drought conditions and climate change, the fact is research is showing that plants do better at higher concentrations of C02 and additionally become more drought resistent. For example, go check on a couple of recent papers dealing with impacts of climate change on the wine industry of Portugal.

    You say fossil fuels will likely be becoming scarce and expensive. At some point perhaps, but not anytime soon, thanks to man’s ability to adapt and create technology that increases our ability to utilize resources. Have you not heard about recent estimates on the amount of recoverable oil and natural gas just in the US alone? Or about the amounts of oil believed to lie off shore and now accessable due to deep water drilling methods? And coal certainly isn’t considered a scarce resource. Besides, we already have a source of long term energy with a proven 60 year history of reliability and safety. It’s called nuclear power.

    You ask “How do you expect our progeny to react to increasing scarcity, insecurity and threats from other nations reacting to the same trends?” My answer is I don’t expect them to. The trends are going in the other direction, with more and more people on this planet gaining access to resources and an improving quality of life.

    Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I don’t think so. History so far has been on my side when it comes to predictions of doom caused by over population. I’m fairly sure it will prove to be so with climate change predictions of doom as well.

    Comment by timg56 — 29 Nov 2011 @ 10:18 AM

  504. Jon @ #501

    “Polls after the last one (ie. “Climategate”) – in the UK, anyway – suggested there’d been a strong negative impact (no doubt my false recollection will now be corrected in triplicate…).”

    You are certainly correct in saying that polls showed a fall in support for the science. However, I seem to remember that it was shown to have a lot more to do with the very cold winter in the UK, illustrating the extraordinary level of ignorance regarding science amongst the general public!

    [Response: I think you are perhaps unfortunately correct. Public opinion on this issue to coupled to recent weather experiences (of whatever sign), and so is rather volatile on short time scales. People should perhaps instead focus on the climate of climate pollng, not the weather noise... - gavin]

    [Further response: Just for fun - gavin]

    Comment by Paul Briscoe — 29 Nov 2011 @ 10:36 AM

  505. timg56:

    It wasn’t that long ago that we were hearing that the planet couldn’t support 6 billion people. Were that true, we would never have made it to the curent 7 billion.

    Half of which are not “supported”.

    reCAPTCHA: since tighta

    Comment by flxible — 29 Nov 2011 @ 11:07 AM

  506. #491 Ros

    I don’t have a membership in an ivory tower and I can be as stupid (lacking intelligence in specific areas) as the next guy. The simple fact is I don’t know even the tinniest fraction of what is knowable. So in my stupidity of not knowing things I keep asking questions so I can know more about those things that I don’t know. I ask these questions from those that have expertise in my fields of inquiry and I examine the literature that has survived peer review of ‘many’ critical eyes.

    My understanding increases but I’m far from expert.

    What I find surprising is that people that don’t have expertise and in depth understanding, such as yourself, often claim a conclusion is wrong rather than just say I don’t know.

    You contradict your self in your own post and feel somehow comfortable with your contradiction.

    I have been reading Realclimate for a long time now and am still at best think man has influenced climate but cAGW isn’t proved

    If you think AGW isn’t proven then why to you also think man has influenced climate? The two statements contradict each other directly. The problem is that you appear comfortable with your own contradictions.

    If I find a contradiction like that in my own thinking, I really would reexamine my perspectives to resolve the issue, otherwise I might say something that falls into the stupid category… and sometimes I do. And then when I am corrected I learn. That seems to be a problem for some people though. Likely be cause people like to think they are right, rather than admit they may be wrong. But that is belief, not science.

    And just because no one knows everything does not mean that some people don” know a lot about something.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Nov 2011 @ 11:19 AM

  507. #498 Number9

    First, I’d have a lot more respect for you if you used your real name and not hide behind a moniker. Care to step up and post with your full name?

    Second, you are missing the point entirely. A model describes processes to determine validity of a conclusion and the range of confidence in said conclusion. You are merely offering opinion as if it is a verifiable conclusion. It is not.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Nov 2011 @ 11:26 AM

  508. timg56 —

    “I have to wonder at the lack of faith in mankind’s ability to adapt. That track record is well established.”

    Yep. It’s called solar, wind and tidal. Look at the calorie benefits;

    Coal w/o CCS: 5.5
    Coal with CCS: 1.5
    Gas w/o CCS: 3.5
    Gas with CCS: 2.2

    Solar thermal elec.: 9.9
    Nuclear: 10.9
    PV: 8.3
    Tidal range: 115.9
    Tidal stream: 14.9
    Wind: 25.0
    Wave: 12.0
    * The Coolest New Solar Manufacturing Technology You’ve Never Heard Of
    * Fishing for wind: Nature inspires more efficient wind turbines
    * Solar power plant operates in the dark

    Less heart attacks, too.

    “Yet we have seen a reduction in the amount of land being used for agriculture and an increase in crop yields. That tells us we are in fact increasing the carrying capacity, not reducing it.”

    The per capita amount of arable land has halved in 50 years

    “You say “Climate change–due to drought and the general downward trend of crop yields with temperature–will be decreasing productivity.” Disregarding the fact that there is no identified link between increasing drought conditions and climate change,…”

    The 2010 Amazon Drought. Tentative, but perhaps indicative.

    “the fact is research is showing that plants do better at higher concentrations of C02 and additionally become more drought resistent. For example, go check on a couple of recent papers dealing with impacts of climate change on the wine industry of Portugal.”

    Wine is not a staple food and vines are not grasses, aka cereals and pulses.

    * Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Inhibits Nitrate Assimilation in Wheat and Arabidopsis. Bloom et al (2010).
    * Sharply increased insect herbivory during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. (Currano 2007)
    * Insects Will Feast, Plants Will Suffer: Ancient Leaves Show Affect Of Global Warming.
    * Grassland Responses to Global Environmental Changes Suppressed by Elevated CO2. (Shaw 2007)
    * Photosynthetic inhibition after long-term exposure to elevated levels of carbon dioxide. (DeLucia 1985)
    * Insects Take A Bigger Bite Out Of Plants In A Higher Carbon Dioxide World.
    * Crock of the Week – Don’t it make my Green World Brown

    “Have you not heard about recent estimates on the amount of recoverable oil and natural gas just in the US alone? Or about the amounts of oil believed to lie off shore and now accessable due to deep water drilling methods?”

    When Royal Dutch Shell had their reserve estimates audited, the estimate dropped by ~43%. OPEC don’t even allow audits.

    You ask “How do you expect our progeny to react to increasing scarcity, insecurity and threats from other nations reacting to the same trends?” My answer is I don’t expect them to. The trends are going in the other direction, with more and more people on this planet gaining access to resources and an improving quality of life.”

    National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces

    Comment by J Bowers — 29 Nov 2011 @ 11:33 AM

  509. #501 Jon

    Call me and let’s talk: +1-202-470-3299

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Nov 2011 @ 11:36 AM

  510. JPR @505
    I think you’ll find the c in cAGW stands for “catastrophic” or some such equivilant. So Ros @491 is likely not presenting an incompatable belief system, rather something like ‘Mankind is affecting climate but not enough to really mess it up.’ The chances are that there’s a big dollop of doubt in such a statement coz why else would Ros be “…reading RealClimate for a long time…” if climate were of no concern.

    Comment by MARodger — 29 Nov 2011 @ 12:09 PM

  511. “What astounds me …” was Ray Ladbury, not me. I agree with Ray and with Eric. Simultaneously asserting “no consensus” and “conspiracy” is a contradiction, of course.

    The “anything but the IPCC” believers happily embrace many quite contradictory ideas uncritically. You can look them up.

    See the list at http://www.skepticalscience.com/contradictions.php

    (Ray, you might want to add this one, it’s not there explicitly yet.)

    Ros, you’re complaining that scientists do hard argument but shouldn’t do it outside “the ivory tower” — but why is it public?

    Because the data thieves (and echo-bloggers) took hard argument from private email between scientists, and persistently have tried to make tskandal* of them — pretending to be shocked, shocked, to find scientists writing the way scientists talk.

    As a former academic administrator, you can’t be surprised.

    I grew up a faculty brat; as a little kid I sat under tables, behind furniture, and in cargo spaces of station wagons on field trips, and heard scientists talking with no fear their conversations would show up in the New York Times the next day. It’s refreshing to hear it.

    It works.

    Please, read Peter Watts’s Climategate posting.
    ————–
    * see also “pearl-clutching”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Nov 2011 @ 12:23 PM

  512. Briefer Peter Watts, for those unable or unwilling to read the whole page:

    “… what I want to address here is the attitude of the scientists, and how that relates to the way science actually works.

    I keep running into recurring commentary on the snarkiness of the scientists…

    This is how it works: you put your model out there in the coliseum, and a bunch of guys in white coats kick the shit out of it. If it’s still alive when the dust clears, your brainchild receives conditional acceptance. It does not get rejected. This time….

    Science is so powerful that it drags us kicking and screaming towards the truth despite our best efforts to avoid it. And it does that at least partly fueled by our pettiness and our rivalries. Science is alchemy: it turns shit into gold. Keep that in mind the next time some blogger decries the ill manners of a bunch of climate scientists under continual siege by forces with vastly deeper pockets and much louder megaphones.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Nov 2011 @ 12:44 PM

  513. #502 timg56

    Yet we have seen a reduction in the amount of land being used for agriculture and an increase in crop yields. That tells us we are in fact increasing the carrying capacity, not reducing it.

    Following this line of reasoning, we should not make overly broad assumptions, but that is a two edged sword. We need to weigh more factors including risks. Less land, increased capacity (via innovation) must also now be weighed against loss of productivity due to increased radiative forcing and socioeconomic capacity.

    Your model does not have enough inputs to achieve a meaningful conclusion.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Nov 2011 @ 12:48 PM

  514. Jon:

    As I said — when it comes to communicating climate science — clarity is more important than sweet-talking.

    And nowhere is this more apparent than your ‘rebuttal’ to my point. Because, even though you praise the RealClimate moderators to the high heavens, I had trouble figuring out what your actual line of argument was.

    For example, you wrote:

    If I’m conscious of the irony that as a non-scientist the best I can do is defer to authority, then this is exacerbated not by ignorance (I’ve been living with climatology for my whole life) but by the fact that the ready supply of climate scientists to whom I’m exposed at my place of work tends to steer me away from quiet acquiescence — and to see that a more critical position lies very far indeed from denial.

    My response: please translate that into Plain English.

    So, my point remains. It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize physicist to figure out that ‘Global warming, I mean climate change, was invented by Al Gore!’ is pure, unadulterated, counter-factual nonsense. Climate inactivism is rife with such mind-bogglingly stupid stupidity. I see every reason for climate scientists to point out such absurdities at every turn — and do so clearly, succintly, and frequently.

    In contrast, I see no reason for climate scientists to sugar-coat their message with lots of sweet-talking and pleasantries, to the point that the message itself is obscured.

      * * *

    (For the rest: do also check out Orwell’s 1946 essay if you haven’t done so.)

    – frank

    Comment by frank -- Decoding SwiftHack — 29 Nov 2011 @ 12:58 PM

  515. #508 Hank Roberts

    One of my very favorite contradictions is the warming is natural, but we are cooling…

    Can’t even beat that with a stick.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Nov 2011 @ 1:14 PM

  516. Regarding cost/benefit.

    It’s often argued that CO2 reduction should be viewed as an insurance policy.

    From the skeptical viewpoint, taxing CO2 emissions is the equivalent of insuring your home for the specific event of leaving the stove on and blowing up the house. The policy would not pay for any other event which would destroy the home, such as a wiring failure.
    That sort of policy, like accidental death/dismemberment polices, are a very bad buy. CO2 mitigation is but one possible cause that we might want to insure ourselves against, but IMHO the risk is too slight to warrant the proposed poloicy.

    I suppose to a non-skeptic, it might seem more like flood insurance where the home is below sea level.

    I doubt that skeptics and non-skeptics will work out their differences of opinion any time soon.

    [Response: That may well be so, especially if you keep making things up. Taxing CO2 emissions would do more than just reduce CO2 emissions by whatever marginal amount the demand/supply curve produces - it would change how people use, produce and transport energy. It would make investment in efficiency more lucrative (and thus favored), it would reduce other pollutants associated with the practices that produce CO2 emissions, it would likely move transportation towards electrical power over internal combustion. The very fact that this is a complicated problem is precisely because of all the knock-on effects and linkages, and your previous arguments have used these precise facts. You can't simply assume that they suddenly don't exist because you want to make a rhetorical point. Well, you can, but don't expect it to be taken seriously. - gavin]

    Comment by David Wright — 29 Nov 2011 @ 1:35 PM

  517. Timg56,
    Wow, how do you get so many facts wrong in a single post. First, you fail to comprehend that the Green Revolution is the only thing that stood in the way of Ehrlich being proved tragically right. And what was the Green Revolution–the discovery of how to turn one-time windfalls–petroleum and aquifers–into food crops. Yes, Tim, we’re surviving because we are eating petroleum in the form of corn and soy.

    What happens when the petroleum is gone or when the aquifers dry up (once they dry, water never flows there again)?

    No link between climat change and drought? WTmotherF? Dude, one of the predictions of the climate models is that more of Earth’s land mass will experience drought as temperatures rise. What is more, the trends Palmer Drought Index show this to be precisely the case. What is more, rice, most wheat and many other crops all yield lower as temperature rises.

    So, where do the calories come from to feed 10 billion people, Tim? Not the oceans–they’re degradaing even faster than agricultural land. Genetic engineering holds some promise, but if rains are unreliable,crops will not grow–genetically engineered or not.

    You express boundless faith that technology will save us. My lack of faith stems from the fact that I understand technology. Technology requires investment in science. The US and most of the world stopped doing that years ago. You see hope in the development of techniques like deepwater drilling. I see desperation. Desperation and potential for environmental disaster. Nukes–all for ‘em. But they won’t feed anyone, and fissionable isotopes are also a finite resource.

    There are two types of population biologists–Malthusians and those who are bad at math. Malthus was “wrong” because the new world introduced new crops to Europe and allowed calories per hectare to be increased dramatically. The year 1848 is an example of what happens when thos crops failed. Ehrlich was “wrong” because we figured out howto eat petroleum. We will see what happens once the petroleum runs out and there is no longer a new world to take up the refugees.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Nov 2011 @ 1:42 PM

  518. Deep Climate dissects Ross McKitrick’s deceptive quoting from the emails stolen from CRU in 2009

    in which he notes he has

    “… some misgivings about rehashing these emails in such depth, as some of the details may be hurtful to the individual scientists discussed. There are good reasons why the private deliberations of authors working through the construction of a major scientific assessment should remain so, and such concerns are reflected in the safeguards of most FOI protocols.

    But in a toxic environment where selective quoting and fanciful interpretation of fragments from stolen emails are considered proof of malfeasance, the record should be set straight to the extent possible.”
    http://deepclimate.org/2011/11/28/mckitrick-hides-the-context/#comment-10229

    Hat tip to Deltoid

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Nov 2011 @ 1:50 PM

  519. #513 frank — Decoding SwiftHack

    Precisely, you see I had been contemplating the potential effect of that which I find entirely obtuse in order to postulate if a baseline of reasoning can be determined through the variable degrees of validity determined by the capcity of opinion to establish a perspective truth that needs not establshment through facts that can only be derived from those that think the observations they are making have anything to do with the reality of what the mind can fathom in the realm of perspective bias which ultimately determines the truth that one sees in relation to the truth that one can not see.

    See what I am talking about here?

    Maybe, just maybe, to the point clarity makes sense when trying to evaluate what is real.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Nov 2011 @ 1:56 PM

  520. for timg56:
    http://www.algebralab.org/practice/practice.aspx?file=Reading_CarryingCapacity.xml

    See also, among many other examples of looking it up, these corrections to others avowing the same mistaken notion about endless improvement:

    “http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2011/02/climate-change-wrecks-agricultural.html?showComment=1297871877341#c3352612984313875067
    “If you don’t harvest it, the yield is not zero, it’s just not counted. So if a million acres of wheat in Russia wasn’t worth harvesting, it doesn’t get recorded as 0 yield for a million acres, it gets recorded as no harvest, and ignored for yield purposes.”

    and
    Nonlinear temperature effects indicate severe damages to US crop yields under climate change “We find that yields increase with temperature up to 29° C for corn, 30° C for soybeans, and 32° C for cotton but that temperatures above these thresholds are very harmful. The slope of the decline above the optimum is significantly steeper than the incline below it.”

    Apology to the hosts for again sniffing after an old red herring. When they drag that sort of thing out again, seems like they’ll get me every time ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Nov 2011 @ 2:04 PM

  521. #515 David Wright

    You still don’t seem to see your logical fallacy.

    You ‘think’ that policy should be based on your humble opinion.

    You obviously did not read the Field.pdf I mentioned earlier.

    http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/Media/file/Hearings/Energy/030811/Field.pdf

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Nov 2011 @ 2:55 PM

  522. #509 MARodger

    My bad, thanks for the correction.

    I thought the c was a mistype?

    The problem with using the word catastrophic is that it is in and of itself ambiguous.

    Without context it is meaningless. People should only use the word if they are ready to step up and give the context in a relevant fashion.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Nov 2011 @ 3:20 PM

  523. Regarding David Wright:

    The Dunning-Kruger is strong in this one!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Nov 2011 @ 3:28 PM

  524. Hi Gavin, Many thanks. I think I am beginning to see now. Using your terminology: ‘You always have the right to make your own judgement about papers.’ However, when ‘collective self-reflection’ reaches a defined threshold, then a person’s own judgement about papers is bad. Is that correct? Perhaps it is the ‘collective self-reflection’ part which I am having a hard time understanding. Could you provide a little more context on this term?

    [Response: Happy to continue to play. Journals are, by necessity, collective enterprises. For which (one assumes) there is a collective pride (otherwise why be involved?). If your journal, for which you offer time and energy, starts to lose its reputation through the actions of a rogue editor acting without oversight, might you not be concerned? Might you not share your concerns with the other editors, and the publisher? And might not that lead to a a reflection on procedures, practices and performance? Thus it would be a collective conversation, and it would involve reflecting on their own enterprise. Question for you; of the ~40 papers published by Climate Research 1997-2006 by, lets say, well known contrarians, how many were steered through the process by de Frietas? (Answer soon). - gavin]

    Comment by ZT — 29 Nov 2011 @ 4:19 PM

  525. From Wall Street Journal:

    That’s where the Climategate emails come in. First released on the eve of the Copenhagen climate summit two years ago and recently updated by a fresh batch, the “hide the decline” emails were an endless source of fun and lurid fascination for those of us who had never been convinced by the global-warming thesis in the first place.

    But the real reason they mattered is that they introduced a note of caution into an enterprise whose motivating appeal resided in its increasingly frantic forecasts of catastrophe. Papers were withdrawn; source material re-examined. The Himalayan glaciers, it turned out, weren’t going to melt in 30 years. Nobody can say for sure how high the seas are likely to rise — if much at all. Greenland isn’t turning green. Florida isn’t going anywhere.

    The reply global warming alarmists have made to these dislosures is that they did nothing to change the underlying science, and only improved it in particulars. So what to make of the U.N.’s latest supposedly authoritative report on extreme weather events, which is tinged with admissions of doubt and uncertainty? Oddly, the report has left climate activists stuttering with rage at what they call its “watered down” predictions. If nothing else, they understand that any belief system, particularly ones as young as global warming, cannot easily survive more than a few ounces of self-doubt.

    Meanwhile, the world marches on. On Sunday, 2,232 days will have elapsed since a category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S., the longest period in more than a century that the U.S. has been spared a devastating storm. Great religions are wise enough to avoid marking down the exact date when the world comes to an end. Not so for the foolish religions. Expect Mayan cosmology to take a hit to its reputation when the world doesn’t end on Dec. 21, 2012. Expect likewise when global warming turns out to be neither catastrophic nor irreversible come 2017.

    And there is this: Religions are sustained in the long run by the consolations of their teachings and the charisma of their leaders. With global warming, we have a religion whose leaders are prone to spasms of anger and whose followers are beginning to twitch with boredom. Perhaps that’s another way religions die.

    Journalism at its best.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 29 Nov 2011 @ 4:35 PM

  526. … And people are asking us not to get enraged!! “…2232 days since a category 3 hurricane has hit the U.S.”. That is the metric of climate change for some moronic idiots and idiotic morons.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 29 Nov 2011 @ 4:37 PM

  527. Hi Gavin, Many thanks for your patience. Sorry I’m still confused – wasn’t the publisher (Otto Kinne) happy with de Frietas’ work? Or are you referring to a ‘collective self-reflection’ that does not include the publisher and the editor? I’m also confused as to the tipping point between ‘You always have the right to make your own judgement about papers’ and becoming a ‘rogue editor’ that will be on the receiving end of ‘collective self-reflection’. For example, was the editor who steered the Mann and Jones paper which was ‘truly pathetic and should never have been published’ (as Bradley said) a ‘rogue editor’ – or was that an example of an editor’s ‘own judgement’ and therefore ok?

    [Response: There you go again...trying to change the subject. Going back to the actual issue, though... I don't know Kinne and I have never had any contact with him, so I couldn't say how happy he was/is. There is only the written record - his initial (supportive) email of July 3, 2003, and his (not-so-supportive and rather unhappier) editorial on August 2, 2003. He was clearly part of the collective self-reflection at CR, which involved all the editors (incl. von Storch and de Freitas) and the publisher. It was their inability to move forward together that led to the resignations. But again you miss the point. The S&B paper was just a trigger for this, not the be-all-and-all. There really was a systematic issue here. On that note, I notice that you didn't hazard a guess at answering my question - do try, it'll be fun. - gavin]

    Comment by ZT — 29 Nov 2011 @ 5:21 PM

  528. Just a few observations.

    Some comments seem to highlight the fact that the emails were stolen. Agreed, not good, but truth also provides some clarity,these emails are an issue, when people say somthing then do it, intent is established.

    I keep reading about “context”, hell, the post itslf offers to provide context should any queries arise. We are not talking about 10 or 20 or 30 emails, we are talking about 100′s. I try to keep it simple, I listen to what people say, then I watch what people do, these emails are a serious issue, because quite frankly, context is obvious in many cases.

    I have NO DOUBT, some of you folks could provide a context explanation for many if not all of these emails, I have NO DOUBT that in some cases you would be both accurate and correct.

    I also have NO DOUBT that these emails clearly establish a pattern which would lead an honest man to question the procedures and opinions of the people involved.

    You are willing to explain the “context” of these emails, explain them away? Are we all at a point in time where ignorance is bliss, where we accept less than the “truth” for the good of the cause?

    I have no doubt some queries could be explained bt way of context, but this is WAY beyond that, its a pattern, please don’t think we are all, well, lets say to dumb to read somthing and then form our own conclusions. Context, is not needed when somthing is written in plain english, in what can only be described as a clear pattern.

    Warmist, denier, how about we just stick to the truth, because both sides of this arguement have serious issues in this regard.

    [Response: Sticking to the truth is to be recommended, but the pattern you claim to see is just not there. There is a lot of context in the emails - very little of it is being looked at, and even less is being headlined at WUWT. If you think there is a pattern of scientists being human - emotional, judgemental, quick on the trigger, sensitive, sometimes angry, sometimes confused, etc. then you would be correct. Scientists are all those things. If you see some other pattern, then be specific, because I don't. - gavin]

    Comment by james dayton — 29 Nov 2011 @ 5:34 PM

  529. Gavin Schmidt email 3343:

    “Frankly, I would simply put the whole CRU database (in an as-impenetrable-as-possible form) up on the web site along with a brief history of it’s provenance (and the role of the NMSs) and be done with it.”

    Comment by Ivan — 29 Nov 2011 @ 5:44 PM

  530. DrTskoul quoted the Wall Street Journal: “On Sunday, 2,232 days will have elapsed since a category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S., the longest period in more than a century that the U.S. has been spared a devastating storm.” [Emphasis added.]

    That’s a blatant lie. The USA experienced TWO “devastating storms” this summer.

    Hurricane Irene caused damages that could exceed $12 billion — as reported by the Wall Street Journal — and caused at least 27 deaths, and caused unprecedented, historic flooding, and left several million homes and businesses without electricity, some for days.

    Tropical storm Lee caused another billion dollars in damages, spawned at least 20 confirmed tornadoes, and again caused unprecedented, historic flooding.

    And this is against the background of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season coming to a close as the 3rd most active year for tropical storms in 160 years of records — only 2005 and 1933 had more named storms. And the 2010-2011 seasons together make up the second most active two year period on record — following 2004-2005.

    According to meteorologist Jeff Masters, while an “unusually low percentage of its named storms” attained hurricane strength, 2011 still had three major hurricanes (one more than average) and the total Accumulated Cyclone Energy was 20 percent above average. Masters notes that “the rare combination of near-record ocean temperatures but unusually dry, stable air over the Atlantic is no doubt at least partially responsible for 2011′s unusually high count of named storms, but near-average number of hurricanes and ACE.”

    The Wall Street Journal editorial writers must believe that their readers are (1) stupid and (2) don’t read the paper’s news reports.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Nov 2011 @ 5:45 PM

  531. @ 524

    In other fields of competitive enterprise, it is possible that someone comes up with a patent idea or a song idea or a new hit TV show and makes a pitch to the powers-that-be… they reject the pitch, but end up taking the idea instead and making lots of money off of it (and sometimes the originator of the idea loses in court because the best way to establish ownership is to have it published.

    Is it even remotely possible that through the collective enterprise of journal reputation preservation, that the powers-that-be for a journal become reduced a subset of the larger population of publishers, and that they by themselves can work to keep in or out what they see fit (in the interests of preserving its reputation), and then further if they come across a potential submission that they find interesting (contrarian or not), they can reject it for publication and then simultaneously put through a pre-buttal, or make use of its data, methodology, or conclusions for a similar work but under authorship of this group instead?

    It just seems like there should be some journal that arises, perhaps call it the “Contrarian Peer-Reviewed Journal of Climate Science” where contrarians can publish contrarian conclusions based on reproducible methodologies and non-consensus model assumptions, etc. and it will have a place of visibility and codification among peer-review — even if that journal is scored with a low-impact factor. I know there’s been talk at times of scientists collusively refusing to cite papers from Journal A to reduce its reputation, or refusing to review any potential publications from author B, but that might just shut them out of the system entirely.

    Obviously in reality those examples have more going on with them than just what is being published, but if it were just about what is being published, it seems that there shouldn’t be too much threat to the science if contrarian papers saw the light of day in peer-review. Has there been as it is, even with these 40-or-so papers at Climate Research?

    Comment by Salamano — 29 Nov 2011 @ 6:16 PM

  532. Secular Animist:
    “And this is against the background of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season coming to a close as the 3rd most active year for tropical storms in 160 years of records — only 2005 and 1933 had more named storms. And the 2010-2011 seasons together make up the second most active two year period on record — following 2004-2005.

    According to meteorologist Jeff Masters, while an “unusually low percentage of its named storms” attained hurricane strength, 2011 still had three major hurricanes (one more than average) and the total Accumulated Cyclone Energy was 20 percent above average. Masters notes that “the rare combination of near-record ocean temperatures but unusually dry, stable air over the Atlantic is no doubt at least partially responsible for 2011′s unusually high count of named storms, but near-average number of hurricanes and ACE.”

    Where does one locate this “Accumulated Cyclone Energy” metric? I don’t doubt it, but wouldn’t you agree that having more weak storms which stay out over the ocean is much better than having a fewer storms which are more catastrophic?

    Statistics don’t lie, but it sure seemed like a very mild hurricane season. Maybe it has something to do with our greater ability to monitor small storms giving rise to more named storms.

    Comment by David Wright — 29 Nov 2011 @ 6:44 PM

  533. You continue to amaze me. Are you arguing that you have some super secret model that indicates that injecting ( $800bn into the economy | 9 GtC/yr into the atmosphere ) have no impacts on ( economic activity | radiative transfer )?
    ….

    My ‘super secret’ model goes back to Sargent (Nobel Prize Economics 2011) and Lucas (Nobel Prize 1995) article “After Keynesian Economics” (1978) which notes that Keynesian multiplier models a) made a tremendous contribution but b) ultimately their predictions were “wildly innacurate” and their shortcomings of the Keynesian models are “fatal”. (These problems extend to the monetarist models as well.) The models were incomplete, explained the past but weren’t able to make predictions that held up in real time.

    What’s more, IMF research in 2009 into “multipliers” (a static concept that some reject) can take negative (value detracting) values as well. Thanks for asking, but you can inject $800bn and get less in return than you were looking for.

    See here for all the caveats:
    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/spn/2009/spn0911.pdf

    The point is a different approach to modeling between us. My belief is that big models that are incomplete models aren’t a platform for making policy with lives and hundreds of billions in the balance. Whether its blowing $800 bn on a recession that’s already over, or spending trillions to reconstitute our energy system for an imagined benefit 100 years in the future.

    Consider Hansen’s 1988 model; we are tracking below Scenario C even though that Scenario assumed no net new emissions after 2000 (obviously didn’t happen, but yet temps trended below them). Clearly, that model wasn’t good enough for policy making; we saved hundreds of billions by not using it.

    The choice isn’t “use a model because its the best we have” but rather “use a model that has demonstrated a reasonable forecasting track record in real time” It should be true of economics, but at least its just a sunk cost of $800bn and three years that can be absorbed and reversed. However, trillions to change our energy sources can’t be so easily reversed.

    As an aside, you might be interested in the economic battles between New Classical (skeptics like Nobelists include Sims, Sargent, Lucas, Prescott, Kydland, and Mundel) and the Keynesians (represented in the left consensus by Krugman, Stiglitz and Solow).

    [Response: Actually I'm not much interested in economic modelling, precisely because there is very little underlying physics. I was using it earlier merely as an analog. But now you have come clean, we see that you do have a model for what you expect to happen with an intervention in the economy, and so you do not reject the concept of 'modelling' in general. That moves us further in the conversation, because now we get to discuss how one deals with competing models and how credible model predictions are. It might not seem like it, but that is a huge conceptual step.

    Now to talk specifics, you have a very odd idea of the influence of the details on climate policy that models have. The Hansen et al 1998 predictions did actually have substantial skill - you would have been better off using them to guide policy than any other model (including persistence, or no change) that was being discussed at the time. The only information relevant to policy making that came out of Hansen et al - but also Manabe etc. was that the rate at which GHGs were being emitted was going to lead to significant warming - which it did. No policy has ever been predicated on exactly matching the long term trends - the difference over 25 years between 0.26 deg C/decade and 0.20 deg C/decade, while distinguishable over the noise, is completely irrelevant for policy. For the time being Scenario C 'looks' better, but it is right for the wrong reasons, and that is never any good for policy making except by dumb luck. Scenario B was closer to observed forcings, slightly higher than what actually happened, and because the model sensitivity was slightly on the high side, it has overshot. The sensitivity that would have had it be almost perfect? ~ 3 deg C. Now that is a policy relevant number.... - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 29 Nov 2011 @ 6:53 PM

  534. DrTskoul@525. That’s not journalism, pal — that’s opinion. Show us that you know the difference by citing real reporting that advances your thesis.

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 29 Nov 2011 @ 7:10 PM

  535. You continue to amaze me. Are you arguing that you have some super secret model that indicates that injecting ( $800bn into the economy | 9 GtC/yr into the atmosphere ) have no impacts on ( economic activity | radiative transfer )?
    ….

    Let me quote from that IMF paper:

    There are four broad methodologies to calculate fiscal multipliers

    Model simulations. Models with an underlying ISLM structure and little or no forward looking behavior result in positive multipliers by construction. An increase in the deficit leads to an increase in
    demand, which leads to an increase in output

    I was trained in the New Classical method; having a model that tells you exactly what you want to see (as above) is not useful for policy.

    BTW, someone asked me for my name. I’m just a humble economist, who eats what he kills. My ideas stand on their own, not as an argument by authority. I’m no authority, I’m grinding my way through the data held back by my own biases. Hopefully, I am learn from experience As Keynes said “When facts change, I change my beliefs. What do you do?”

    Comment by Number9 — 29 Nov 2011 @ 7:12 PM

  536. I doubt “Number 9″ is an economist. He/she states: “The big models said that spending another $800 bn would deliver a recovery.”

    Which “big models” were those?

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 29 Nov 2011 @ 7:27 PM

  537. Hi Gavin, Many thanks again for your response. I cannot say how many, papers ‘contrarian’, or otherwise, were published by CR in any time period because I do not have a definition of your term ‘contrarian’. Could you possibly provide such a definition? Would this be someone (or something) who (or that) questions ‘settled science’? (I’m just guessing here – so forgive me if I am jumping to conclusions).

    [Response: Use whatever definition you like. How about papers with authors associated with George Marshall and Cato Institutes. - gavin]

    And would you mind awfully if I were to ask you again: [edit - yes]

    Comment by ZT — 29 Nov 2011 @ 7:34 PM

  538. David Wright @532
    Wikipedia’s a good in-depth source for ACE & other hurricane info. Easier on the eye, I maintain a graph of North Atlantic annual ACE data two clicks down the link below. As for expecting hurricane strength or numbers for whatever ocean basin to stand as an indicator of climate change (or the length of time since a category 3 hurricane hit the US coast – Irene was category 1 at landfall), that’s as daft as saying the Mayan predicted doomsday for 21/12/12. The Mayan long count ends 23/12/12 & its not the Mayan doomsday but a time to celebrate the new age.

    https://1449103768648545175-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/marclimategraphs/collection/G10.jpg?attachauth=ANoY7cr8xZo6jgPxHromP0AjD1u6jRzhrehhGgWvKAbhfdmF7mveN4WempBcXXkCuMabiiBYNg5y5N9N-HyJurs1dzU99KqwvhH4eQBrN6VWlWfKyrPaa7ECBJM-82dzJeAny9cdgRfRqLkS9CHTGJW-e9tRGSnug2FvOCw_exUwkqtKaHr7ZG1mtlEhvYolJjxjudA8MY2POgCZlOsnOAZlSxC-V7B_-A%3D%3D&attredirects=0

    Comment by MARodger — 29 Nov 2011 @ 7:35 PM

  539. The Hansen et al 1998 predictions did actually have substantial skill

    Definition? Thiel’s U? I’d love to run those numbers.

    Perhaps I’m missing the point, but Scenario C assumed no net emissions. We didn’t have no net emissions and yet we have lower temps.

    Not much skill.

    Having said that, I have presented negative examples of the failure of models; in fact, I don’t believe models (climate or economics) are at the point to make more than one or two year ahead forecasts. And the skeptics have been right. Can’t base 100 year policies on that.

    “it (Scenario C) is right for the wrong reasons”

    See, here’s the difference between us; the data say that it’s right and the reasons don’t matter. We were better off for not spending hundreds of billions to achieve Scenario C b/c we achieved Scenario C temps anyhow. The money would’ve been wasted.

    Scenario B is closer on forcings; so? Scenario C is closer to the data. That says that Scenario B’s model has a problem.

    [Response: As we discussed last year:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/01/2010-updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

    "...it seems that the Hansen et al ‘B’ projection is likely running a little warm compared to the real world. Repeating the calculation from last year...we could use this mismatch to estimate a sensitivity for the real world. That would give us 4.2/(0.27*0.9) * 0.19=~ 3.3 ºC. And again, it’s interesting to note that the best estimate sensitivity deduced from this projection, is very close to what we think in any case. For reference, the trends in the AR4 models for the same period have a range 0.21+/-0.16 ºC/dec (95%). So to conclude, global warming continues. Did you really think it wouldn’t?" -eric]

    Comment by Number9 — 29 Nov 2011 @ 8:03 PM

  540. @534. You wouldn’t know sarcasm if it hit you on your head. If you had taken 30 sec and saw my positions above you wouldn’t make such a comment – pal.

    My point was very clear. Such pieces of crap as the so called article/opinion I cited, keeps appearing in so-called prestigious newspapers to blatantly manipulate the naive.

    Next time do not rush to judgement.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 29 Nov 2011 @ 8:06 PM

  541. Salamano, OK, dude, when you write a single sentence with 104 words in it, then it is definitively time to take your meds!

    Try to understand this. There is no contrarian science. There is no “warmist” science. There is science–which advances understanding of its subject–and there is crap–which does not. If a journal rejects a paper that provides an important advance–for whatever reason–they will find very quickly that their readership has switched to read their competitor. Science is an intensely competitive, cut-throat enterprise. It is a gonads-out race to understand your subject better than the guy in the next office. No one remembers the name of the guy who confirms the important result–but if he can build on it and further advance understanding he stays alive. Any scientist who cries scientific censorship is an idiot.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Nov 2011 @ 8:08 PM

  542. DrTskoul@539. I might not even recognize sarcasm if it walked up and kissed me on the lips. My apologies.

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 29 Nov 2011 @ 8:22 PM

  543. Number9

    My ‘super secret’ model goes back to Sargent (Nobel Prize Economics 2011) and Lucas (Nobel Prize 1995) article “After Keynesian Economics” (1978) which notes that Keynesian multiplier models a) made a tremendous contribution but b) ultimately their predictions were “wildly innacurate” and their shortcomings of the Keynesian models are “fatal”. (These problems extend to the monetarist models as well.) The models were incomplete, explained the past but weren’t able to make predictions that held up in real time.

    A whole lot of name dropping, assertions, and dismissals with no citation or argument relevant to the specific questions at hand.

    The point is a different approach to modeling between us. My belief is that big models that are incomplete models aren’t a platform for making policy with lives and hundreds of billions in the balance.

    So, in the case of imperfect information you believe inaction is the best risk management policy? I guess we can just sit back passively and let whatever happens, happen, secure in the knowledge that we didn’t interfere with the natural order of things. Who could have known? is always a convenient excuse and often a lie.

    Whether its blowing $800 bn on a recession that’s already over, or spending trillions to reconstitute our energy system for an imagined benefit 100 years in the future.

    That the $800 billion spent on the stimulus is wasted is an assertion for which you have yet to provide an actual argument. Please properly cite any specific portions of the IMF statement you linked to which you feel supports your position. All I see are generic abstract observations without specific analysis relevant to our current situation. I can easily cherry pick a handful of statements from the IMF note that favor support of stimulative policies and imply that our stimulative efforts were not optimal. That the recession was declared over by assessment of various metrics such as GDP trend and unemployment trends is a red herring. The fact that we have not recovered from the recession is clear from the current unemployment stats. Also, the stimulus was meant to be part of an economic recovery act, not merely an economic stop-the-recession act.

    And when you bring up the “trillions of dollars” bogeyman, this is meaningless scary-stuff without defining exactly how the expenditures are implemented, over what time span, and accounting for any economic benefits from the shift in our energy economy. Also, 100 years might seem like a long time except to those of us who have been around half that long and wondered how it all passed so quickly.

    Comment by Nibi — 29 Nov 2011 @ 8:30 PM

  544. Nibi It’s not an assertion. The recession ended in June 2009. $800bn to stop a recession that already ended is a fact. It’s value detracting policies that explain why we haven’t had a recovery, as many predicted (longer UE leads to longer duration of unemployment; temporary tax cuts aren’t stimulus (life time consumption theory); shovel ready projects have already been rejected for having too low RoIs to fund).

    Note, that I did cite in the following post the IMF article which states that the models deliver what they expect to see.

    I’ll also note they say that multipliers can be negative, or ‘value detracting’; let me provide the quote if you can’t be bothered looking at the paper:

    Can the fiscal multiplier be negative?
    Yes, fiscal expansions can be contractionary if they decrease consumers’ and investors’
    confidence, especially if the fiscal expansion raises, or reinforces, fiscal sustainability
    concerns

    As for name dropping, the argument against Keynesian models was cited “After Keynesian Economics” (1978). Happens to have been written by Nobel winners; what can I say?

    At the time, they were skeptics, against the Consensus

    They were proven right.

    That is, it’s a fact.

    [Response: Economic theory as metaphor? - vaguely on-topic. Actual economic theory? not so much. No more on the stimulus funding thanks. - gavin]

    Comment by Number9 — 29 Nov 2011 @ 8:49 PM

  545. Nibi I cited the IMF article. Did you read it?

    Comment by Number9 — 29 Nov 2011 @ 8:52 PM

  546. I still look like a cockroach? I sense another flaming coming on: but this isn’t a pissing contest, and that wasn’t a rebuttal. So no need for inverted commas.

    So.

    1. I’m no scientist (that much I believe you’ll agree on).

    2. I recognize that my understanding of the science relies to a larger extent on trust would be the case if I had expertise in any relevant field. Trust in the scientific process displayed by those who work within it is qualitatively different from mine. I have to look ‘backwards’ at the science, often without being able to penetrate far beyond its interim conclusions. I don’t get to look ‘forwards’ into the process of inquiry in the same way. It’s like having a brain injury that leaves you with no executive function.

    4. If I were more ignorant, I would be less aware of this difficulty.

    5. But I get to talk to climatologists from different disciplines as frequently as I choose. I find this rewarding. (More rewarding than this. I’ll never do it again: I think I prefer talking to the climate scientists I can see. They’re less determined to make me bleed.)

    6. Talking to these people informally gives me a different perspective on the science than I get from reading it, or summaries of the stuff, or collations of the summaries of the stuff. They tend to be non-egotistical and very forthcoming: sometimes critical or cautious, sometimes speculative, always interesting, always interested in where the limits are, what the problems are, never complacent. And never ever insistent that you swallow everything you’ve read because it’s all equally good for you.

    7. This puts me in a strange position: I am more informed (in some respects), but I’m no more a scientist than I would be otherwise.

    8. As a result I find myself increasingly interested in accounts of current work that help focus attention on where the areas of difficulty lie (yes, all science does this, all the time — but refer back to point 3, and you can intuit the rest: I’ve given up being bothered). My comprehension of what it is that has been done, and my faith in it, is often better served by the material that draws attention to the gaps than programmatic summaries of research.

    Comment by Jon — 29 Nov 2011 @ 8:55 PM

  547. @542. No worries m8!! :)

    Comment by DrTskoul — 29 Nov 2011 @ 9:00 PM

  548. Number9

    The recession ended in June 2009

    The fact that I didn’t dispute this assertion is evidence enough that your reading comprehension is defective. Since Gavin has issued the official enough-is-enough on this off-topic diversion, I’ll ignore the rest of your nonsense.

    Comment by Nibi — 29 Nov 2011 @ 9:09 PM

  549. Is “turkey” in the title because it was thanksgiving? :)

    [Response: Guess!]

    Comment by Jimi Bostock — 29 Nov 2011 @ 9:14 PM

  550. Kudos to Gavin for hanging in with ZT. This back-and-forth series has provided an excellent tutorial, for general readers, for understanding the difference between the scientific process and the conspiracy theory process. Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 29 Nov 2011 @ 9:21 PM

  551. “Actually I’m not much interested in economic modelling”-Gavin

    “Taxing CO2 emissions would do more than just reduce CO2 emissions by whatever marginal amount the demand/supply curve produces”-Gavin

    I strongly suspect that Gavin has been dabbling in some economics textbooks in his spare time. That is a big step forward, but I would urge him to at least admit that indeed he has at least a passing interest in economic models.

    The whole policy discussion centers squarely on political economy and things like marginal utility, like it or not. Gavin’s comment indicates that he understands this too well.

    Comment by Bryan S — 29 Nov 2011 @ 9:48 PM

  552. Gavin,

    In a recent comment to Ray Pierrehumbert, I commended to him the works of Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom. Ray chose not to post my comment.

    Are you familiar with her work?

    Comment by Bryan S — 29 Nov 2011 @ 9:52 PM

  553. #549 Steve Fish

    And you gotta love the method of thank you again, and here’s my spin technique.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Nov 2011 @ 10:15 PM

  554. @Jon #546.

    Have you tried physorg.com?? Talking about a pissing contest. We are all sitting down and playing with our tea-sets here in comparison.

    I get your point. However, you have to understand the levels of frustration that many people are feeling, when good, truthful science is treated as conspiracies of left-leaning tree-huggin bunch of hippies. And when seeing that deception, manipulation and blatant lies from politicians, religous leaders, right-wing amoralists and so on is keeping the naive and ignorant hostage to a coming mess!!

    I’ve read the threads and really apart from a couple (e.g. Holly Stick) you have not been treated as an insect as you assert. Keep in mind, (this is known and well studied since the era of the bulleting boards in the infant internet) that apersonal texting and posting allows for higher degrees of aggressive behavior. In person debate is different. Talking to a monicker, a nick-name and ethics and inhibitions go to the way side.

    I get it. Do other people get it?? Don’t care. Learn, question, and please pick your “Experts” really carefully. There are a whole bunch in here, lurking.

    @Gavin

    Got some of your code. Pretty cool. It’s always funny to see that the actual solver part of the code is so small.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 29 Nov 2011 @ 10:26 PM

  555. FYI: Recession ended? Check the blue line. http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/gross-domestic-product-charts

    “…and statistics.”

    Comment by ccpo — 30 Nov 2011 @ 12:23 AM

  556. @541.

    Your point on my wordiness is agreed-to. :)

    I did not introduce “contrarian” publication into the conversation, someone else did. It clearly exists (or existed) as a reality. Even if your dichotomy of “science” and “crap” was the rule in the publishing world, it would still be legitimate for both to be published. The “crap” would still get ignored. I suspect that the “crap” may not be as “crappy” as you say, because somehow other scientists are banding together to try to prevent it from being in the literature at all, rather than allowing it to be in press and ignored. [perhaps, you would respond, because it is "crap" :)]. Crap gets published every day. I see no reason for it not to continue… That way everyone can see everything, and time, comments, responses, and citations will show the crap as crap. Even highly respectable publications at one time can become crap later, and vice verse…so I don’t see how some of what your saying should justify keeping ‘contrarian papers’ out of press if they are advancing conclusions that arise out of reproducable methodology, etc.

    [Response: In most fields you would be correct. But in climate science and a few other highly politicized fields, "crap" papers are forever being plucked out of obscurity and thrust into the public domain with highly misleading press campaigns, often with the support of the authors. When that happens, scientists who write "non-crap" papers are assailed left, right and center (though mostly right) with demands to respond to the "crap" results. It is unfortunately unavoidable - it comes in congressional hearings, radio talk shows, journalists, members of the public, concerned colleagues etc. Every time this happens, someone usually has to go to the trouble of outlining in excruciating detail when such a high-profile media-backed politically-connected piece of "crap", is indeed a piece of "crap". This takes time and effort that would be far more productively spent on doing "non-crap" research. It is frequently personally distressing, because the person or persons who take this on, then become targets of said campaigners. Singer, Lindzen, Spencer, Miskolczi, Soon and Balinuas etc. have all produced "crap" to order with exactly this intention, and effect. Ignoring it is generally untenable. - gavin]

    Comment by Salamano — 30 Nov 2011 @ 2:11 AM

  557. Having been a “lurker” for a number of years, and as a non scientist, one aspect of this thread allows me to offer a comment for the first time. I have a background in marketing, PR.

    I am interested in the identity of the hacker (and I think we can be sure it is a hacker), their motives and their overall strategy.

    When I talk about their motives – I mean in the broader sense rather than the obvious.

    When I talk about the “overall strategy”, I am prompted to question this entirely because of the recent release of “Climategate 2″ emails.

    Before last week, “Climategate 1″ existed in isolation. We probably all thought that was it (I have searched for references from 2 years ago that even suggested that there might be more to come – but I couldn’t find any). In the intervening 2 years the press interest came and went and various enquiries came and went – and things continued as before.

    Climategate 2 emails were released, and to what seems like a much lesser extent, the process appears to be being repeated.

    With the benefit of these two events now, we can start to theorise as to whether the hacker is making his plan up as he goes along – or he has a bigger, longer plan.

    Is he extremely patient and he originally planned Climategate 2 to happen 2 years after Climategate 1? Or is C2.0 merely an afterthought – albeit having involved a lot of work and further risk to his identity being blown (with potential criminal proceedings to follow).

    Only now might we surmise that there might be a C3.0 release. When might that be? What may be the thrust of the content of the releases?

    One could argue that C2.0 is designed to reopen 3 particular threads

    1. Issues regarding FOI requests (upon which an enquiry has focused and found no issues)
    2. provide evidence of a cabal controlling who can publish what and where (again, enquiries have looked at this and found no problems)
    3. The quality/reliability of data coming out of UEA (again, questioned and answered)

    Lastly, I have noticed that the emails that have been released are all sort of “sideways” and/or “downwards”. By this I mean they are between the personalities and the organisations that are at the heart of the issues.

    But there are no “upwards” emails threads.

    No emails to bosses, government ministers, MSM press, TV, BBC. No emails specifically addressed to Dr Pachauri – and none received from any of those parties.

    Is it conceivable that no such emails exist or have they just not been released thus far? If they do exist but have not been released – why haven’t they?

    Comment by James — 30 Nov 2011 @ 5:45 AM

  558. “Is it conceivable that no such emails exist or have they just not been released thus far? If they do exist but have not been released – why haven’t they?

    Well, it strikes me that when I ‘talk to the boss,’ I’m apt to have a more ‘public’ face on than I do when I talk to my co-workers. Given that the hacker’s goal was self-evidently to embarrass by releasing hasty, bitchy or otherwise less-considered remarks, presumably any more-or-less ‘upward’ emails that may have been hacked would tend to be less interesting to him (or her.) And there would most likely be far fewer of them in the first place, since you don’t bother ‘the boss’ with the mundane stuff.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 Nov 2011 @ 9:29 AM

  559. Salamano @541, My day job is in a field that is MUCH less politicized than Gavin’s metier. However, people still work to avoid publication of crap papers. Sometimes you get a publication that is simply wrong in some important detail. Sometimes a paper is just flat wrong in every detail.

    If you get the wrong reviewers, they may not see it. And since no practitioner in a field is an expert on all aspects of that field, crap papers can keep on giving years after they are published.

    A craptastic paper merely adds noise. The experts have the uncerstanding to filter out the noise. But the expert is certain to be bothered by non-experts quoting the paper or worse yet basing future work on it. And this is in a field practiced by maybe 800 people worldwide that nobody else cares about.

    In climate science, you have cranks or “Emeritus” types with their own pet theories. You have some researchers deliberately trying to muddy the waters. You have folks from outside the field with only a dim understanding of the science who are convinced that their brilliant insight into the water will make the whole problem of climate change go away. And you have media, business folks and professional idiots and ideologues waiting eagerly to grasp at any straw that floats their way.

    Why wouldn’t you want to nip as many of the craptastic papers in peer review before the C students latch onto them? (And yes, if you are not expert in the field, you are a C student(at best), even if you have a Nobel Prize.)

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Nov 2011 @ 9:42 AM

  560. Re 558 kevin

    I agree. However, surely there would have been some email commentry (with bosses) on events pre 2009 with regards to stance, policy, approach, etc.

    Wouldn’t it be a surprise to learn that there were no “upwards” emails that were of interest to the hacker?

    In the context of the emails released recently, any “lobbying”, persuassion or argument based emails to (or from) the type of people I described (poiticians, MSM, etc) would surely have been presented, as well, as evidence of something – even it is only “influence” in high places.

    We can only guess – but my money would be on there being more to come and that some “upwards” emails will appear at some point in the future.

    Comment by James — 30 Nov 2011 @ 11:22 AM

  561. But when a single editor makes it a habit, or a journal (like E&E) becomes a regular conduit for that kind of thing, the reputations of the editor and the journal are going to suffer.

    You seem to be using as a justification for the actions against Frietas that he, and thus the journal, was habitual in its errors. Could you provide examples of these bad practices that CR had committed prior to the S&B paper of 2003 that would lead you to believe he, and CR, should be subjected to such behavior at that time?

    [Response: Funny you should ask... - gavin]

    Comment by Kenny B — 30 Nov 2011 @ 11:31 AM

  562. And you have C students at the undergraduate level who become presidents.

    Comment by DrTskoul — 30 Nov 2011 @ 12:13 PM

  563. Salamano @ 556

    Salamano somehow suspiciously suspects, and offers this sophisty:

    “I suspect that the “crap” may not be as “crappy” as you say, because somehow other scientists are banding together to try to prevent it from being in the literature at all, rather than allowing it to be in press and ignored.”

    Yeah who needs first rate journals? Who needs standards? Let them mix in as much incompetence and magical thinking as possible, that way we can open the door for propagandists and nihilists to muddy the waters. It’s so much more efficient to make the busy scientists who have to read journals professionally wade through mountains of useless baloney.

    Such is the persistent world view of conspiracy sniffers who have the exhilarating glory of their olfactory hallucinations. Since they can’t be bothered to get their hands dirty sorting out actually crap, they can’t imagine that anyone else has to do it in real life.

    Damn, it’s so much easier to make elaborate accusations than to do, you know, actual work. More fun too.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 30 Nov 2011 @ 12:18 PM

  564. James #557, the problem for the marketers of this product is that version 1.0 didn’t match the hype. Some journalists made themselves look very silly when they reported on the packaging before opening the box. Consequently the demand for version 2.0 has shrunk.

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 30 Nov 2011 @ 12:57 PM

  565. Salamano, I also work in a somewhat less politicized field (medicine) and am subject to and perform peer review. I second what Ray Ladbury said in 559, but would say he sugarcoated it. Crap papers published in medicine lead to people having procedures they shouldn’t have, taking meds or not taking meds they shouldn’t or should take, or generally practicing medicine in ways that may cause much, much harm.

    I would argue that the stakes in preventing crap papers being published are high in medicine, and high in climatology. Letting crap through is not an exercise in free and fair discourse, it literally causes harm, death, damage, and waste. Why would I try to let crap through??

    Comment by Utahn — 30 Nov 2011 @ 3:01 PM

  566. “Why would I try to let crap through??”

    To be fair n’ balanced.

    (Only kidding)

    Comment by Silk — 30 Nov 2011 @ 4:28 PM

  567. Salamano, I’m sorry about your recent boreholing – but looking at that post, you said, in part (at risk of boreholing myself I suppose):

    “Allowing this stuff to be in peer-review removes a key criticism (the whole ‘gate-keeping’ thing) so that it can no longer be pointed to as a stifling of competition or academic censorship, or whatever else. The draw-backs come in the form of wasted time and annoyance, but the continued reps in re-demonstrating the strength of the science will just continue to work over time…”

    As I said above, the drawbacks do not come in just wasted time and annoyance, but wasted lives and money as well. In addition, where does quality come into play? Don’t you think the peer-review process should have every peer-reviewing person ensuring the highest quality papers get published? It’s not just 3-4 people doing the reviewing, even if the fact that you see email quotes from a few of the reviewers makes it seem so…

    Comment by Utahn — 30 Nov 2011 @ 5:21 PM

  568. Gavin: I sincerely commend you for continuing to monitor this thread and to respond to inquiries, even though many of the inquiries are nothing more than attempts to bait you. Regarding the tired issue of the emails, Phil Jones hit the nail on the head a few years back when he said: “I wish people would spend as much time reading my scientific papers as they do reading my e-mails.” Keep up the good work…

    Comment by JW — 30 Nov 2011 @ 7:36 PM

  569. Free access to springerlink until 31st Dec,

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/42822h838776m102/

    sorry Stefan if this has any negative outcome for your new Ferrari, condo and yacht in the Bahamas.

    Comment by john byatt — 30 Nov 2011 @ 7:43 PM

  570. [Response: Funny you should ask... - gavin]

    Hindsight is nice, but more to the point, do you have any examples of contemporary complaints prior to 2003 that would show you thought they had a habit of printing bad stuff that you thought would justify your actions? Von Storch’s resignation mentioned nothing of a history of bad papers, just ‘recent months’ problems.

    [Response: Even the emails mention two earlier Soon papers, also the paper reviewed by Wigely, etc. (email 3681). - gavin]

    Comment by EJD — 30 Nov 2011 @ 8:53 PM

  571. I watched a South Park rerun tonight that seems apropos to a recurring theme in this thread:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/guide/episodes/s11e09-more-crap

    ;-)

    Comment by Peter Backes — 30 Nov 2011 @ 10:38 PM

  572. EJD: why are you too lazy to read the e-mails yourself, rather than demand that RC do your work for you?

    Comment by dhogaza — 1 Dec 2011 @ 12:11 AM

  573. Why does Phil Jones say, “Tim, Chris, I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting till about 2020.”
    This is problematic on multiple levels. First, he admits here what he is loath to admit in public, that warming has ceased. Second, if warming is going to lead to catastrophic consequences, why in the world would he wish for it?

    [Response: I imagine that he would become increasingly fed up with people using short-term trends to make long-term forecasts. The forecasts being discussed are the Smith et al, DecPreSys (initialised decadal predictions). All of which show the same long term warming but have different decadal variability. This has nothing to do with what Jones or anyone else actually wants to happen. - gavin]

    Comment by Hans — 1 Dec 2011 @ 12:48 AM

  574. Thank you for your courteous acknowledgment of my grump Eric. I hope you will allow me to respond to John (506)

    Thanks JPR, and John I thought I was being upfront by making that statement as I am aware that cAGW is considered to be the latest fall-back position of “deniers”. And also that all was not lost in Realclimate’s attempts to inform the stubborn uninformed. Nevertheless I seize up when the going gets rough and I see plenty of evidence here and elsewhere that I am not alone.

    The claims I make, one, that I have been reading Realclimate for some time. I do not know how to substantiate that claim to you.

    Second I claim that the tone in Realclimate is unnecessarily rude at times with the implication that the rudeness is directed at the very lay persons that Realclimate hopes to inform, or at best disturbing for those laypersons. I give an example, and claim that rudeness negatively affects an argument. Are you sure that you want to say that I have no expertise and understanding in what constitutes civil discourse and that I should instead say that I don’t know whether or not the language here is at times rude?

    May I offer you a quote from Christopher Lasch with the suggestion that you take time to read it and reflect on your perspectives.

    “Opposition makes humanitarians forget the liberal virtues they claim to uphold. They become petulant, self-righteous, intolerant. In the heat of political controversy, they find it impossible to conceal their contempt for those who stubbornly refuse to see the light-those “who just don’t get it” in the self-satisfied jargon of political rectitude.

    Simultaneously arrogant and insecure the professional classes in particular, regard the masses with mingled scorn and apprehension…..

    Argument is risky and unpredictable, therefore educational. Most of us tend to think of it (as Lippman thought of it) as a clash of rival dogmas, a shouting match in which neither side gives any ground. But arguments are not won by shouting down opponents. They are won by changing opponents’ minds-something that can only happen if we give opposing arguments a respectful hearing and still persuade their advocates that there is something wrong with those arguments. In the course of this activity we may well decide that there is something wrong with our own….

    As Lippman understood these matters, knowledge is what we get when an observer, preferably a scientifically trained observer, provides us with a copy of reality that we can all recognise. Dewey, on the other hand, knew that even scientists argue amongst themselves. “Systematic inquiry” he contended, was only the beginning of knowledge, not its final form. The knowledge needed by any community-whether it was a community of scientific inquirers or a political community-emerged only from “dialogue” and “direct give and take”

    “If I find a contradiction like that in my own thinking, I really would reexamine my perspectives to resolve the issue, otherwise I might say something that falls into the stupid category… and sometimes I do. And then when I am corrected I learn. That seems to be a problem for some people though. Likely be cause people like to think they are right, rather than admit they may be wrong. But that is belief, not science.”

    A little belittling and pompous perhaps?

    Hank I actually find the language in the few emails I have read a lot politer than what happens here and elsewhere. A good read, even if rather stressing, wit goes a long way to making a message more readable. But like much of the language on the web about climate change still very blokey. Peter Watts is having fun, not trying to persuade. For you an interesting post at Club Troppo “The inevitability of blog tribalism?”

    http://clubtroppo.com.au/2011/11/19/the-inevitabilty-of-blog-tribalism/

    Comment by Ros — 1 Dec 2011 @ 1:03 AM

  575. [Response: Even the emails mention two earlier Soon papers, also the paper reviewed by Wigely, etc. (email 3681). - gavin]

    Perhaps you could provide a link because in the two prominent email locations I searched 3681 does not describe what you say it does.

    [Response: 3681: (Wigely): "I have had papers that I refereed (and soundly rejected), under De Freitas's editorship, appear later in the journal -- without me seeing any response from the authors.", 2106: (von Storch): "In fact, it was not the first article by these authors, which was perceived by different readers as methodically questionable (CR 18:259-275; CR 22:185-186/177-188; CR24:91-92/ 93-94).", 2272 (Hulme) "[Wolfgang Cramer resigned from CR a few years ago over a similar concern over the way de Freitas managed the peer review process for a manuscript Wolfgang reviewd]. …. This is by no means a one-off – I could do the analysis of de Freitas’s manuscripts if needbe.”,.. Need I go on? – gavin]

    Comment by EJD — 1 Dec 2011 @ 1:53 AM

  576. I’m wondering, if in your view Frietas should have been fired for letting through Soon et al 2003, which claimed there was a divergence problem in tree ring proxies, [edit]

    [Response: This was not the claim of Soon & Baliunas that was in contention, indeed it wasn't mentioned in any of the critiques. The issues were their ridiculous approach of deciding whether 20th Century temperatures were anomalous. They concluded they weren't - not that it couldn't be decided because the proxies were no good. Revising history to make it seem that the S&B debacle was about the Briffa MXD record is just nonsense. - gavin]

    Comment by Kenny B — 1 Dec 2011 @ 2:42 AM

  577. Does anyone have time/desire to reply to this? http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3707172.html

    It’s just an opinion letter, but it gets lots of eyes because it’s on the Australian ABC website.

    Comment by concerned citizen — 1 Dec 2011 @ 4:10 AM

  578. @ EJD

    McLean, de Freitas and Carter throw Soon and Baliunas under the bus

    Comment by J Bowers — 1 Dec 2011 @ 6:51 AM

  579. I see now how this site works. Why did you not allow my comment about [edit]. That’s just another reason why people believe that something is being hidden.

    [Response: What is being hidden is the endless repetition of tired insults and talking points. Take it elsewhere. - gavin]

    Comment by Veritas — 1 Dec 2011 @ 8:38 AM

  580. Ros, sometimes the only adequate response to the ridiculous is ridicule. Merely saying, “You are incorrect,” after the 5th instance of someone claiming there is a global cabal of scientists plotting global domination under the aegis of the UN somehow doesn’t seem quite adequate.

    The simple fact is that some people are ineducable. You will never convince a committed creationist of the validity of evolution no matter how strong your evidence. Likewise, you will never convince a true climate denialist that we are changing the climate regardless of the evidence you present.

    Frankly, I suspect that the rigidity of the opposition stems from a deep-seated insecurity–at heart, these people know they are clowns. A creationist substituted denial of reality for his or her lacking faith. A libertarian insists deny the reality of climate change because at heart they lack faith that capitalism could cope with such a challenge.

    These are not attitudes or philosophies worthy of respect. They deserve to be ridiculed mercilessly precisely because their proponents will not learn.

    Mark Twain once said, “Never teach a pig to sing. It doesn’t work and it annoys the pig.” Me, I’ll settle for annoying the pigs.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Dec 2011 @ 9:25 AM

  581. @574 Ros

    (Ray chimed in while I was writing this, so consider this to be in addition to what he just said)

    That’s a nice bit of concern trolling there, but you are misunderstanding the main purpose of this blog: to communicate the science of climate change to laypersons who are willing to invest some time to learn about it.

    Ideally, we would all be reading the scientific literature. But even though I’m reasonably well versed in maths, and have managed to come to grips with some of the statistics (but only after two years of dedicated effort reading and following links from here and tamino’s site), I still get that ‘deer in the headlamps’ look when I stray too far beyond the abstract of a paper. So, people like me rely on outreach sites like this to explain the results (and mistakes!) in the peer-reviewed literature. And if I don’t understand a concept behind one of the explanations, I go read up on it.

    Now… if contrarians, or skeptics, or deniers, or whatever you want to call them come in here with quote-mined excerpts from stolen private e-mails, alleging scientific fraud and demanding ‘explanations’, then it’s bound to ruffle a few feathers. The group have kindly offered to provide context to these e-mails where possible. But really, this is politics, not science.

    If the contrarians could actually provide some peer-reviewed literature containing evidence that our understanding of the physics underlying climatology is wrong, or the projected range of climate sensitivity is way off the mark, or something that shattered the consensus view… well, that would be interesting. But has that ever happened? No. So far, the contrarians best efforts have amounted to little more than: “Hey, look, there’s a squirrel!” Every bit of evidence we have, and all that is happening in nature around us, tells us that the Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate and mankind is the primary cause of this warming.

    Dealing with climate change contrarians is like watching a combination of 50 First Dates and Groundhog Day, and playing a game of Whack-A-Mole™ at the same time. Sometimes it’s obvious that a person hasn’t even bothered to read the thread before posting. That’s inexcusable behaviour (but I’m not accusing you of that, so please don’t take me wrong). That’s why people here get impatient and frustrated.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 1 Dec 2011 @ 10:08 AM

  582. I would like to thank the ironically named Veritas for posting such an excellent example of precisely the type of ridiculous commnet I was referring to right before my post.

    Hmm, I wonder if the Borehole might not become a denialist destination someday that gives Tony “Micro” Watts a run for his money.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 Dec 2011 @ 10:39 AM

  583. Science is not a democratic process. It requires intelligence and decades of study, as well as abandoning more lucrative fields of endeavor. It’s a little more complicated than voting for your favorite on a reality show or screaming for your favorite celebrity. It takes hard work to even be accepted to a good science program at a decent institution of higher learning. Of course those who can’t or won’t do the work are all over it since they’ve discovered that they can say if it’s hard work it isn’t worth it.

    I often wonder why it is so easy for me, with my failure to complete differential equations and abandonment of science for art (though for many years I taught scientists how to draw, and I am here to tell you they were my best students – able to think and to set aside their preconceptions, and willing to do the hard work of learning) to sort through the material and spot who has the expertise and who is spreading deceptive material all over.

    One reason, of course, is the almost universal predominance on every level worldwide of dissemination of credible information by credible organizations. Of course, having people tell me I am an idiot for “believing” science works, despite my computer, heat, hot and cold running water, automobile, and many other mod cons which rely on science to work, is helpful as reality bites.

    And for those saying global warming has stopped, just exactly where do you get your blinkers. A few decades of recordkeeping show the climate has changed and is changing faster.

    I know this has been cited before, but it is excellent!
    http://mattgbush.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/who-are-the-biggest-sceptics/

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 1 Dec 2011 @ 12:09 PM

  584. On learning to draw, I could have used the word honest instead of hard for the work I was talking about. The best science students were way ahead of the pack, you could say “talented” at it, and it wasn’t born but made. They had a habit of setting aside their prejudices. Believe me, this is not easy, but to make a good drawing it is almost essential, absent tracing and hours of mindless erasures. Telling the truth as you see it is easy, but it is difficult until you get the knack.

    That charming recaptcha: mobius byurce

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 1 Dec 2011 @ 12:13 PM

  585. Susan Anderson wrote: “It’s a little more complicated than voting for your favorite on a reality show or screaming for your favorite celebrity.”

    Very apt, since AGW denial is basically an entertainment demographic. Like professional wrestling.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 1 Dec 2011 @ 12:29 PM

  586. Susan,

    Do not bring yourself down by saying you don’t understand why you get it so easily. You have skills and abilities and chose to apply those to art. That does not mean that you are not compentent to understand other fields of study.

    A layperson that wants to learn does not come here and authoritatively states that science is wrong, that AGW is a conspiracy etc. etc. etc. An honest layperson that does not understand something will simply state that they don’t understand it and ask for guidance (“Why do orbital forcing does not matter? or Why is the Sun with the gazzilions of Watts of energy coming to the earth is not the main driver of Climate Change?” instead of “You guys are wrong. It is the orbital forcing.” or “It is the Sun stupid” or “You guys are hidding the decline”. Who is pompus? A true scientist first questions himself!!! And after long questioning of ones-self do we convince ourselves of the truth.

    That is the reason we react so forcefully with the pompus statements that we do not know what we are talking about!!!

    reCaptcha : Effie escrying …poor effie!!

    Comment by DrTskoul — 1 Dec 2011 @ 1:20 PM

  587. #583-584 Susan I think for any academic endeavour you need to be objective, to accept evidence that disproves your preconceptions. Possibly scientists are better at this because they have a greater chance of being called out by their peers for not being objective. :)

    Comment by Holly Stick — 1 Dec 2011 @ 1:43 PM

  588. Y’all showing up rebunking the old claims — where are you finding them?

    For most of the folks reposting the old stuff, it seems (assuming they’re honest visitors) that they think this stuff is new and true. It ain’t.

    Has some site (WTF, probably?) somewhere done a fresh rebunk?

    New readers prone to believe copypaste bunk to RC thinking it’s a challenge, thinking they’re the first to do so — and get educated, if they want.

    But it’s old, old stuff now.

    Folks, _check_what_you_read_ before believing what guys on blogs claim.

    Ask for a cite first, don’t be credulous.

    Remember: copypaste in haste, learn belatedly.

    If your source won’t give you a cite, ask a librarian for help (and ask yourself why whoever’s making the claim isn’t giving you the help to find where they got it — a real original, not just a chain of blog copies).

    If you can’t get a cite, ask a librarian.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 1 Dec 2011 @ 1:52 PM

  589. Bret Srephens’ The Great Global Warming Fizzle suggests too much influence editorial influence has been imputed to The Cornwall Alliance and The Discovery institute

    His enthusiastic invocation of the torching of Persepolis by Alexander The Great makes it clear that the WSJ Ed Board remains firmly in the hands of fire worshipers.

    Comment by Russell — 1 Dec 2011 @ 2:08 PM

  590. Phil Jones : « McIntyre and McKittrick and all the other paleoloonies out there » (0818.txt)

    paleoloonies : tinkles deliciously in my french ears !

    Comment by Olivier — 1 Dec 2011 @ 5:35 PM

  591. “Have you tried physorg.com?? Talking about a pissing contest. We are all sitting down and playing with our tea-sets here in comparison.” – 554

    The denialists are almost routed from PhysOrg. That wasn’t the case before I arrrived there in force 6 months ago. They were running rampant.

    The key is to hit them hard and hit them frequently.

    Use the same tactic with “Whatts up with lying” and you will get the same results.

    Needed. 50 people to organize in an attack of honesty on Whatts up and you will make that propaganda outlet useless to the Denialist industry.

    It will take 365 days.

    Comment by vendicar decarian — 1 Dec 2011 @ 11:06 PM

  592. Re #537, Gavin :-

    1. [Response: Use whatever definition you like. How about papers with authors associated with George Marshall and Cato Institutes. - gavin]

    He/she, (ZT), could also list all authors and compare them with a list of known ‘contrarians’ or ‘deniers’ – (whichever term you prefer) – on websites like Skepticalscience.

    Comment by Clippo (UK) — 2 Dec 2011 @ 5:01 AM

  593. I think most people will not be taking too much notice with the latest mails but little by little public opinion is being divided. Most people, like myself, were under the impression that warming was a given and that CO2 was (is) the smoking gun. Now I would like to know more and have reasoned arguments from both camps. It is annoying that some scientists from both camps are overstepping the mark and, more importantly, losing the moral high ground. We have to have complete openness and honesty, with FOI requests granted whenever requested. Failure to do this will cause futher doubts and suspicion, surely there is nothing to hide?

    [Response: Of course there is nothing to hide, but FOI laws are not blanket rules with no exceptions for good reason. This guidance from the UK ICO on exemptions is quite good on why those exemptions exist. Thus there will always be cases of people asking for stuff that will end up being refused for multiple reasons. This has nothing to do with scientific openness, but more related to the need to have a "safe space" for frank discussions on drafts, the ability of scientists to work on new data without worrying that rivals can FOIA them before they've had a chance to publish, etc. All of these issues have limits of course (i.e. how long can you still be said to be working on something - one year? two years? 20 years? - NSF has a three or five year guidance I think), and so individual requests will still need to be judged in context.

    The big issue with the CRU requests was not related to scientific openness or dishonesty, but rather due to the restrictions imposed by the National Met Services (like the Uk Met Office) on the ability to forward data to third parties (since they are mandated to try and use it commercially). The CRU scientists were caught in a spot between these pressures, and did not handle it as well as they could have. Nonetheless, all that data is now online (and is entirely unsurprising). However the need to get access to data for research purposes that the collectors of that data want to sell is still a problem - particularly for under-resourced small-country met services who don't have much leverage, and this has not been satisfactorily addressed.

    But, yes, warming is a given, and greenhouse gases (not just CO2) are the main smoking gun. - gavin]

    [Response: Andrew, let's not forget that our original contention (mine, at least) about the entire CRU / FOIA thing was that the importance of the data being sought was completely overblown by Steve McIntyre and others. The fact is that CRU the vast majority of the relevant data was already available, and always has been, without anyone having to ask CRU for it. Please read the post I wrote on this here. I agree with you that all scientists should be striving to keep the high moral ground, but people are human, and the scientific facts don't depend on the (alleged) missteps of a handful of people.--eric]

    Comment by andrew holder — 2 Dec 2011 @ 5:15 AM

  594. Andrew Holder, OK, so let me get this straight–you are going to choose your facts based on how nice the people promoting them are?

    Reasoned arguments from both sides? Really? How many climate models have the denialists proposed? How many articles have they published? How many times were those articles cited by others (an indicator that an article advances the understanding of the subject)?

    Dude, here’s a news flash: Science works! And it works despite the fact that the practitioners of it are fallible, irritating, and sometimes unwise human beings. That is the real story here. Not one single result has been refuted or even called into question by the release of these emails. NOT ONE!!!

    Want a better way to choose your facts? Look at which side is doing science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Dec 2011 @ 9:18 AM

  595. 593 Gavin’s response:

    “However the need to get access to data for research purposes that the collectors of that data want to sell is still a problem – particularly for under-resourced small-country met services who don’t have much leverage, and this has not been satisfactorily addressed.”

    Has this worsened since the UK ICO overuled UEA/CRU over the release of data from other countries? You also indicate that the UK Metoffice also imposes restrictions. Is this still the case, or has the UK Metoffice altered its position following the UK ICO’s Decision Notice?

    Comment by Mikel — 2 Dec 2011 @ 10:42 AM

  596. “I agree with you that all scientists should be striving to keep the high moral ground, but people are human, and the scientific facts don’t depend on the (alleged) missteps of a handful of people.”

    While on-its-face that statement is true, the reality is that scientific facts, when informing policy decisions that have far-ranging impacts, CAN depend on the (alleged) missteps of a handful of people…

    Just like smoking guns, frank confessions, video-taped evidence, and everything else can be stricken from the record, or ruled inadmissable if certain procedures aren’t followed properly. There is a ‘courtroom’ of public opinion, as well as a litany of stakeholders beyond the scientists themselves that are going to be mulling over this information in their head with much less of a grasp of the science, but ever so much more of an ability/responsibility to set the actual policy.

    From what I’ve seen here, the folks at RealClimate understand this to a satisfactory degree as well, even as individuals maintain that they’ll only accept (at worst) a label of being ‘unhelpful’ at times. The fact that numerous folks here have been dedicated to re-explaining, re-enjoining, re-hashing, and re-reasoning much of what has transpired over the past several years– despite Thanksgiving dinners, family engagements, regular academic duties, etc. not only underscores a commitment to see the science through, but also a implicit recognition of how serious these emails and ‘what has been done’ are, even if it’s overtly dismissed as ‘two-year old turkey’.

    Comment by Salamano — 2 Dec 2011 @ 11:03 AM

  597. “We didn’t have no net emissions and yet we have lower temps.” – number 9.

    No, that’s still a false claim – or to put it more directly, a lie – and will remain so however often you repeat it. If you dispute this, kindly show the statistical evidence for a fall in temperatures.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 2 Dec 2011 @ 11:31 AM

  598. “The fact that numerous folks here have been dedicated to re-explaining, re-enjoining, re-hashing, and re-reasoning much of what has transpired over the past several years– despite Thanksgiving dinners, family engagements, regular academic duties, etc. not only underscores a commitment to see the science through, but also a implicit recognition of how serious these emails and ‘what has been done’ are, even if it’s overtly dismissed as ‘two-year old turkey’.” – Salamano

    It is, of course, no such thing. Simply a recognition of the power of misrepresentation, quote-mining, and other forms of dishonesty.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 2 Dec 2011 @ 11:33 AM

  599. “While on-its-face that statement is true, the reality is that scientific facts, when informing policy decisions that have far-ranging impacts, CAN depend on the (alleged) missteps of a handful of people…”

    Barely anyone even knew climatology existed back in 1998, regardless of Kyoto. Even Spencer said at a post-Climategate Heartland conference to the BBC that nobody could have known how hot a topic it could possibly become. Nobody has that kind of foresight, otherwise Soon wouldn’t have sent correspondence showing he was conspiring to undermine AR4 four years before it had even been finished for Greenpeace to find. Even if they’d been declaring undying love for Lindzen they’d have still been pilloried one way or another.

    Comment by J Bowers — 2 Dec 2011 @ 11:41 AM

  600. Eric, your “here” link in #593 is broken.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 2 Dec 2011 @ 12:11 PM

  601. Salamano wrote: “… how serious these emails and ‘what has been done’ are …”

    You keep making these noises about “serious” and “what has been done” as though the stolen emails revealed some wrongdoing, or something unethical, or some fault with the science.

    In fact, the stolen emails reveal no such thing, as NINE separate, independent investigations have confirmed. And you have yet to offer even one tiny shred of substance to back up your noise.

    It appears that the moderators are allowing such comments full of such vapid innuendo on this thread, to illustrate the point that “there is no there there” when it comes to this second batch of stolen emails and the deniers’ deliberate lies about them, just as was the case with the first batch.

    If so, you should be grateful for that circumstance, since otherwise your comments are so utterly devoid of content that they probably wouldn’t even qualify for the Bore Hole.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 2 Dec 2011 @ 12:34 PM

  602. Eric:

    Andrew, let’s not forget that our original contention (mine, at least) about the entire CRU / FOIA thing was that the importance of the data being sought was completely overblown by Steve McIntyre and others.

    And still is overblown, actually. And will still be overblown a decade from now. Ten years from now, we’ll be hearing that climate science is a fraud because of 1) Mann’s original “hockey stick” papers from the end of the 90s 2) “Climategate 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 … N.0″ (as successive batches of e-mail are released) and 3) “CRU hiding the data” (all 5% of it that they legally could not release).

    Oh, and of course, ten years from now they’ll be saying “there’s been no warming since 2019″ …

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Dec 2011 @ 12:59 PM

  603. For andrew @ 593:

    Andrew, you write that you “would like to know more and have reasoned arguments from both camps.” That sounds good! One thing you might want to check out is consistency in the development of theoretical models to explain what is happening and the data to back up those models. What I have found is that the “skeptics” camp fails repeatedly in offering alternate and comprehensive explanations of what has happened with regard to climate, what is happening, and what is likely (or not) to happen in the future. Moreover, there is a lack of agreement and consistency among the explanations that are offered by these “skeptics.” Finally, it seems some people in the “skeptics” camp keep moving the goal posts.

    If they expect to be taken seriously by me, they’re going to have to do a much better job in offering a scientific explanation of what’s going on.

    Comment by Charles — 2 Dec 2011 @ 1:30 PM

  604. I think the advice to go where the actual science is being done is excellent in general, but doesn’t effectively target some problem areas. For instance, it doesn’t get at people with no overwhelming agenda but who are naturally skeptical and at the same time are not aware either of how science works or of the nature of the issues raised by certain, um, energetic factions lacking in scientific integrity.

    Vulnerable people have no sense of the working role of peer reviewed literature in the hard sciences and no understanding of how its checks and balances operate. They don’t have a good idea of the current status of climate science and may have some vague notion that AGW is somehow “out there” with speculative science, maybe even beyond string theory, and is therefore not strong enough to warrant alternative models to be countered effectively (unaware that their actual working model is just a bygone unscientific world view).

    The problem, other than that due diligence takes some effort, is what you see turning up over and over again in comment sections practically everywhere you look: a whole lot of lost people out there who have poor skills in basic critical thinking, little understanding of the most basic science, and absolutely no feel for the most basic concepts of probability.

    It’s why I tend to stress the basics of good citizenship: checking denialist arguments for the weight they put on rhetorical maneuvering, the misdirections, the irrelivancies, the inaccuracies, the empty accusations, and the outright lies. At a certain point it should become evident that it’s just not worth it for the average Joe or Jane to spend much time with denialism — provided he or she is willing to step up, make an effort, and even learn a bit about logical fallacies. So they should be encouraged, IMO, pointing out that these skills will serve them will in other arenas.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 2 Dec 2011 @ 2:25 PM

  605. For Andrew Holder:
    A good exercise in skepticism — read this list of arguments and ask yourself which ones you personally find credible, and which ones you don’t find credible.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/contradictions.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Dec 2011 @ 2:49 PM

  606. So here is what it comes down to:

    Salamano: “…the reality is that scientific facts, when informing policy decisions that have far-ranging impacts, CAN depend on the (alleged) missteps of a handful of people…”

    How does the use to which the scientific knowledge is put change the facts themselves? How does this change the science? What is the process by which this happens? Please be specific, and provide real examples so that we can separate the logic of your argument from the paranoia that is so common among those who distrust the scientific process.

    Meanwhile, Gavin says: “…the scientific facts don’t depend on the (alleged) missteps of a handful of people.” For those of us with at least some experience with and understanding of the scientific process, this agrees with our own observations. If this is not enough, the bloggers here at RealClimate have provided copious amounts of specific evidence that this is true. To me, that is what RealClimate is all about.
    Another question: What other major scientific consensus (I am not referring to an assumption here, but an actual intellectual model that explains observable phenomena) in the past 50 years has been completely negated, or found to be corrupted by politics? And if anthropogenic global climate change does not explain the clearly observable worldwide warming, what alternative scientific explanation does?

    Comment by Craig Nazor — 2 Dec 2011 @ 2:58 PM

  607. Salamano,
    In reality, the issue is not the emails or any misbehavior they might reveal. Rather it is in the lack of understanding the public have of how science works. There are some ways in which science is really, really easy. If you ask Nature the right question repeatedly, she’ll give you the same answer every time. So, if I’m reporting what answer I got, I’d better be truthful and accurate, or someone else will ask the same question and reveal the lie to the whole world. Likewise, if I make an honest mistake, I can be confident that someone will correct it.

    Look, science works. The box you are typing on right now is proof of that. The best that can happen is for nonscientists to get the hell out of the way and let it work. Ask us what the science says, and we’ll give you an answer. We’ll tell you how confident we are in that answer. We’ll tell you what resources we need to give a better answer or have more confidence. When it comes to the role of CO2 in climate, we have pretty damned good answers in which we have high confidence.

    Science will not tell you what policies to adopt–only the goals they have to acheive and what happens if you don’t acheive them. But the first thing we have to do is quit fighting over physics that was uncontroversial a century ago.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Dec 2011 @ 3:07 PM

  608. “Ten years from now, we’ll be hearing that climate science is a fraud because. . .”

    I’m more hopeful; specifically, I think some of these folks will be claiming that “I said all along that the climate was changing, but did they listen to me?” Others will have mysteriously fallen silent. . .

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 2 Dec 2011 @ 3:42 PM

  609. 605, Ray Ladbury: In reality, the issue is not the emails or any misbehavior they might reveal. Rather it is in the lack of understanding the public have of how science works.

    No. Trenberth vs Landsea and Trenberth vs Michaels are actually serious transgressions. As are a lot of others. Most of the emails are innocuous, but the bad ones are bad.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 2 Dec 2011 @ 4:23 PM

  610. @ 605, 606, 603, 601, whatever else…

    “How does the use to which the scientific knowledge is put change the facts themselves? How does this change the science? What is the process by which this happens? Please be specific, and provide real examples so that we can separate the logic of your argument from the paranoia that is so common among those who distrust the scientific process.”

    “In fact, the stolen emails reveal no such thing, as NINE separate, independent investigations have confirmed. And you have yet to offer even one tiny shred of substance to back up your noise.”

    “Likewise, if I make an honest mistake, I can be confident that someone will correct it.”

    I see a large disconnect between some folks in the science and folks outside the science on what things these emails are showing (and/or what you can explain as being manipulated to purport), and how it relates to the science’s acceptability. In short, I don’t think you ‘get it’.

    The science is not in question here… The problem is clearly one where the science is being challenged and/or discounted because of the way the evidence has been handled. You can stammer and stomp until you’re blue-in-the-face that “not one shred” of evidence (really?) has ever come up that makes any behavior by any climate scientist as “unhelpful”, but you will not see this problem resolved no matter how much you want to denigrate the un-understanding public that stands in the way of “ANY” adequate policy from being enacted on so many levels. Anyone who remembers the Muir-Russell panel knows exactly what I mean about “unhelpful” practices– and I use it on purpose to represent a key example behind the lack of true reform that is going to further cloud the science from penetrating. Many climate scientists would only be too glad to accept a label of “unhelpful” at times if it means that no reform-based recommendations ever see the light of day (which is precisely what is currently happening) and business-as-usual goes forth.

    “honest mistakes”, “unhelpful” behavior … yes, certainly seems like it’s really no big deal. But blaming the public for being able to latch onto them and use them to discount the science in their mind is not going to get you anywhere. The vast number of stakeholders that ultimately determing what policy provisions that get enacted are not scientists, and they weigh evidence much like a jury– completely willing to ignore or throw out the most solid of culplatory evidence on the slightest bit of malfeasance or technicality. The stout refusal to change any behaviors to accommodate various calls for reform is just going to cause more validations and vindications of the science to fall on deaf ears. You’ll be left with a scientific community getting increasingly loud concerning the impending doom that looms for future generations, but with no constructive policy actions to show for. If scientists are unconcerned with how their message/research is received, so long as it’s correct, then by all means…let’s keep discussing about how the science is settled (last century, no less), all scientists have been vindicated, and that they only ethical lapses and honest mistakes worth criticising and reforming right out of the system lie with folks that attempt to publish contrarian papers.

    When the science is taken and translated into policy recommendations that call for the elimination of a person’s job “for the greater good”, they’re going to find whatever they can to discount the science, and band together with their votes to make it not happen, locally and/or nationally. Countermeasures that have been suggested (such as preventing contrarian research/conclusions from being published or considered in IPCC chapters) will only serve to embolden the discounting– because they are seeking out ways to preserve their near-time livelihood. The greatest good that’s cropped up recently has been things like Realclimate that (a) allow folks to post their contrarian thoughts, and (b) directly engage them. Sure, take anyone who isn’t lock-step supportive of a no-need-for-reform and send them to the borehole; that’ll solve everything (not).

    The burden for greater transparency, greater openness, greater engagement of a permitted-to-be-visible contrarian side of the science is focused squarely on the scientists that are highlighting the need for a drastically different economic/energy paradigm for the whole world in light of present/future danger. To deny this, or fail to enact any reasonable new measures that directly address currently suggested reforms will just continue to allow the exact same complaints to presist, and to get all this voluminous evidence to be counterbalanced or discounted in the minds of those who are already pre-disposed to skepticism because of their preference to maintain their status-quo way of life and consumption.

    Comment by Salamano — 2 Dec 2011 @ 6:29 PM

  611. Septic Matthew, It is not essential for the success of the scientific method for scientists to treat each other gently. Our first commitment is to advancing understanding of our particular area of study. In no way did Trenbreth’s actions or words retard that goal.

    The science still stands whether scientists like each other or not.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Dec 2011 @ 6:48 PM

  612. Eric, your “here” link in #593 is broken.

    But it works OK if you just lop the ” rel=” off the end of it. Some good nostalgic reading at that link from 2 years ago. A lot of the comments from the uninformed there are as vacuous as the ones in this thread. The more things change, the more they stay the same, apparently.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 2 Dec 2011 @ 7:42 PM

  613. Salamano, Rather, Sir, I think it is YOU who doesn’t get it. You seem to be asking climate scientists to be saints–to patiently turn the other cheek when attacked, to explain patiently to the same idiot for the fortieth time why correlation is not causation or why you must look at all the evidence.

    If the public will only accept facts from saints, then the human race is in a rather tough spot, as last I looked, saints are in short supply. What is more, I know of no method that reliably turns humans into saints.

    What I look for instead is a method that organizes the efforts of those fallible humans, mistakes and vanity and petulance along with the rest, and still yields reliable understanding of the world around us. The closest I have found to such a method is science. It capitalizes upon our inate abilities and predilections and forces us to ask nature the right questions and to express the answers clearly and correctly.

    Just as markets turn our avarice into wealth, science turns our curiosity and ambition into understanding.

    Perhaps more important, precisely because Nature doesn’t change her story, science forces us to listen to what nature is saying–even when we are being told things we’d rather not know. It is one of the few human institutions that actually allows us to overcome our tendencies toward self-delusion and inaccurate risk assessment.

    As I said above: Science works. And if humans are too stupid to appreciate that it works, then they are simply too stupid to survive.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 Dec 2011 @ 8:27 PM

  614. > actually serious transgressions
    Six year old turkey.

    Are any of their/Pielke’s papers — those or more recent ones — known to be in, or out of, consideration for the _upcoming_ IPCC AR5?

    Didn’t the cutoff/deadline pass fairly recently for papers to be in that?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Dec 2011 @ 11:17 PM

  615. Salamano@609:

    Are you trying to say that the public cannot believe the science until, according to your judgment, all the thousands of scientists who are involved in all aspects of climate research all behave with ethics that you find beyond reproach?

    [I wrote this before I read Ray's post @612. Isn't it interesting how we are interpreting your point of view in exactly the same way, particularly since I have never personally met Ray Ladbury?]

    Right.

    Since you did not answer A SINGLE ONE of my other questions, this discussion has become all about your own personal point of view. You have left me to wonder if Salamano even “gets” how to have a productive debate.

    Yawn.

    Comment by Craig Nazor — 3 Dec 2011 @ 1:34 AM

  616. 609 Sal said, ” To deny this, or fail to enact any reasonable new measures that directly address currently suggested reforms will just continue to allow the exact same complaints to presist,”

    I seem to have missed these ignored reasonable complaints and non-done new measures/reforms you talk about. Please share them with us.

    Perhaps the contributors will tell us of some changes that they’ve made in their practices since Climategate?

    Comment by RichardC — 3 Dec 2011 @ 2:17 AM

  617. Salamano, First, where is the evidence that regulation and reform of science are needed? Has the product that it delivers (understanding of nature) been compromised? Has society been harmed in some way by the practice of the scientific method?

    I don’t think that any reasonable person could answer in the affirmative to either of the two previous questions. Science is a game in which no-harm/no-foul applies. It requires original thought and creativity and passion, and some of the most passionate, original and creative individuals in it could not function in a highly regulated environment.

    Indeed, what you propose is a solution in search of a problem. Science is already self-regulating. Scientific fraud and other serious misconduct are punished mercilessly. However, serious scientific misconduct manifests as offenses against truth rather than offenses against one’s fellow scientists. A few of the best scientists out there are right bastards. Their colleagues know this, and yet they still publish with them, because they reliably deliver clear, creative insight into difficult problems.

    I have direct experience with well meaning regulation. I work in a very applied field where the same techniques I use on satellites can also be used to build more reliable missiles. As a result, when we deal with foreign colleagues, we are highly restricted in the information we can share.

    The intent of these restrictions is to preserve the US advantage in aerospace technology. In fact, it has had the opposite effect, driving away from the US and forcing foreign competitors to innovate. As a result, the Europeans are now kicking our pasty, white asses in several areas.

    In medicine, the research program has been subverted by the shackling of the free exchange of information in the name of “proprietary” necessity. We’ve seen the results.

    I could cite several other well meaning attempts to “improve” science by regulation or legislation. Suffice to say none of them have worked.

    There is simply no better method for delivering reliable invormation about our universe than the scientific method motivated by curiosity. It is the product of literally centuries of gradual development and refinement. The refinement, however, has come from within, pushed by people with the deep understanding of the method that comes only with practicing it.

    I will say it again: Science works. It ain’t broken. Don’t try to fix it. If you do, you will find yourself in the company of Lysenko, Feyerabend and other famous dumbasses throughout the ages. You might as well try to improve art by regulation.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Dec 2011 @ 8:49 AM

  618. @615 …

    What are these initial questions to which you are referring..? All I know is that I’ve been responding to responses this whole time. There’s 600+ posts, perhaps there has been more out there I haven’t seen.

    …And no, I’m not saying that “the public cannot believe the science until..” …It’s that many in ‘the public’ are already pre-disposed to not believe it, or not want to believe it, because of what believing it would mean for their way of life and how they are currently living it. Reform is quite an easy thing to point to that will remove one lingering stigma that has permitted many to just dismiss the solid evidence out-of-hand (as they are pre-disposed to do already). In this way, the “science” is not even being considered because the evidence is being ruled “inadmissable”.

    @616 …

    Many of these reforms have been recommended by the many investigative panels that have cleared the scientists and the science since the first release of Climate emails. Accompanying the many references to “unhelpful” behavior by scientists came some substance as to how to avoid the same problems (or appearances of problems) in the future (other than the simple status-quo-but-dont-get-caught-next-time).

    These have been talked about at length in many places, but they have not been employed for one reason or another.

    For example, the recommendation for more openness/transparency into the selection process of IPCC writing teams. The same could be said for the process by which papers are selected (or set aside) as ‘on the table’ for various chapters. Conflict of interest provisions need to be enforced (The whole Greenpeace saga is an example that comes to mind). Some of these reforms have been set aside rather than enforced for the upcoming reports because ‘it wouldn’t be fair to those who are already selected’ even if it continues to supply the ‘conflict of interest’ ammo that has been used since time and memoriam to discount any publication of any kind (Koch Bros. included). Muir-Russell made many recommendations, so did the IAC. Others that have been recommended (I believe) include a wider applicability of FOI policies, and even the accompaniment of full codes with comments for each and every publication that is deemed worthy of inclusion into these grand compendiums.

    There are many responses to them that ensure no change of behavior “because notions of reform won’t solve anything” even if it may be an avoidable rut the wheels will keep spinning into. Perhaps the folks at RC would be kind enough to highlight the reforms that have been proposed, and why they are not being followed this time around. There are plenty of other places that contain mentions of these reforms.

    Comment by Salamano — 3 Dec 2011 @ 9:00 AM

  619. “The vast number of stakeholders that ultimately determing what policy provisions that get enacted are not scientists, and they weigh evidence much like a jury– completely willing to ignore or throw out the most solid of culplatory evidence on the slightest bit of malfeasance or technicality.” – Salamano

    If that were true, of course, all the denialists’ efforts would have been in vain, since their blatant misrepresentations of the state of the science, ludicrous conspiracy-mongering, and vile persecution of climate scientists would have seen everything they say dismissed without a second glance. The truth is that the vast majority of the public have never looked at either the scientific evidence or the Climategate emails, while the mass media have created an entirely false impression both of the state of the science and of the “revelations” of Climategate (with barefaced lies when it comes to the likes of Fox News, and spurious “balance” with such as the BBC).

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 3 Dec 2011 @ 9:11 AM

  620. A bit of side chatter: Ray, I was very struck by your sentence:

    “Just as markets turn our avarice into wealth, science turns our curiosity and ambition into understanding.”

    Mind if I quote you on that for a totally unrelated writing project, for which it would be, I think, quite relevant?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 3 Dec 2011 @ 9:53 AM

  621. @619

    You are not seeing this issue through the same prism. Yes, theoretically a jurist would reject as inadmissable any element of evidence that fails any test of mishandling or misrepresentation or whatever else. However, in this situation, you have the a set of stakeholders (like I have been describing) that are pre-disposed to accept that which they desire to be true without vetting, and to seek ways to reject that which is unsavory by means of inadmissability (you can call this confirmation bias, or whatever term you want). These folks have scored a hit with regard to various steps of reform that aren’t happening for which these emails play a part in highlighting the need. Simply ignoring it, declaring them “too stupid to survive” or whatever else is not going to achieve any objective. Outside of communist countries or ones without due-process, these folks essentially control the ground that decides whether certain objectives on local or national levels are enacted or not.

    So it is easily true that (a) the science’s admissability is being weighed by the non-science public, and (b) that same admissability is being further weighted by the savoriness of its conclusions.

    @ 617

    I had a feeling this conversation was going to jump very quickly from “what are these so-called reforms that have been supposedly ignored” to where reform is a “solution in search of a problem”. Well, keep believing that there is no problem where reform can help; keep thinking that science would advance policy much more efficiently if only there were greater latitude in sifting out contrarians from the IPCC or peer-review; if only we could eliminate the practice of ‘spurious’ balance; or greater ability to enact policy goals without pesky due-process. Don’t enact any reform… I can just-about guarantee you are going to be back here two years from now arguing in a “Four-year-old turkey” thread about why it is that the public refuses to move en-mass to enact policy decisions that the best science has shown will save the planet..

    Comment by Salamano — 3 Dec 2011 @ 10:48 AM

  622. Ray Ladbury,

    Sadly, your “fortieth” is to low. Try four hundredth or four thousandth. Unfortunately, this activity is on the rise and is now cluttering up previously interesting discussions (a nice example of truly interesting discussion is the Ice Age Constraint one here; I haven’t ventured there because this kind of nonsense hasn’t unduly cluttered it. The further tranche of old emails (some duplicates) has brought the parasites out of the woodwork.

    For the regular rebunkers, you seem to prefer to pretend or perhaps don’t know that the last decade and more have been cluttered with this nonsense and that proof and evidence don’t work with your collagues. There have, for example, been nine investigations of “climategate” (slimegate) and none of them have found anything wrong with the science, just normal human irritability and perhaps a little despair that the truth doesn’t penetrate. There are villains and stakeholders out there with lots of money, and whether you know it or not, you are working from the Frank Luntz playbook and following in the footsteps of a skillful movement that has deep roots in big tobacco and other early forms of corruption.

    (RC: thanks for not posting my earlier descent into adolescent snark!)

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 3 Dec 2011 @ 12:51 PM

  623. 605, Ray Ladbury: : In reality, the issue is not the emails or any misbehavior they might reveal. Rather it is in the lack of understanding the public have of how science works.

    Probably you can influence the people who read RealClimate only. Anyone who reads more widely will have a deeper appreciation than that of the actual misbehaviors.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 3 Dec 2011 @ 1:40 PM

  624. Salamano:

    If scientists are unconcerned with how their message/research is received, so long as it’s correct, then by all means…let’s keep discussing about how the science is settled (last century, no less), all scientists have been vindicated, and that they only ethical lapses and honest mistakes worth criticising and reforming right out of the system lie with folks that attempt to publish contrarian papers.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. So climate scientists are guilty of… what? Not being nice?

    Last I checked, not being nice to people I don’t like is emphatically not a crime.

    – frank

    Comment by frank -- Decoding SwftHack — 3 Dec 2011 @ 1:56 PM

  625. Salamano: Um, just out of curiosity, have you ever actually read any papers in a well respected climatological journal?

    You do know that they’re professional journals, you know… for professionals… in a very particular field… like with PhDs who deal with lots of arcane math, chemistry, physics, algorithms and stuff every day, year in and year out? That means that by necessity they have to pass muster with a relatively select circle of people.

    The vast majority of people outside the field are not equipped to edit or judge the value of professional papers. Hell, most people can’t even read the damned things. That’s why there’s a system in place to handle papers. Could you summarize the reasoning behind the way peer review is designed? Could you even make a flow chart of that system that had more than 2 boxes and an arrow?

    SM: Being in deep b.s. is not the same as being deep in the subject.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 3 Dec 2011 @ 6:07 PM

  626. Kevin, Feel free to quote or edit or improve. It’s just words. No one owns words, and words can always be improve.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Dec 2011 @ 7:27 PM

  627. Salamano, Humans have several serious weaknesses that could ultimately threaten their survival.
    1)We are susceptible to confirmation bias–we tend to believe what we wish were so.
    2)We suck at risk estimation–overestimating nearby or spectacular risks (e.g. terrorism) and underestimating risks we consider remote (climate change or smoking).

    These characteristics result in our inability to accurately perceive very important aspects of our current situation. Science offers a remedy for both. If humans are too dim to avail themselve of the remedies they themselves have developed, then we will not adequately address the threats arising from climate change–or if we get through that crisis, some other crisis will be our downfall.

    Again, Salamano, I assert on the basis of the overwhelming evidence–Science works. Let it. I also note that you dismissed utterly my examples of how well intentioned “reforms” have undermined scientific progress in the past. If science is to reform, it will reform itself as it has repeatedly in the past to address past challenges.

    The scientific method introduced by Francis Bacon was itself a reform–intended to ensure that empirical evidence constrains and validates theory and theory guides empirical investigation.

    The introduction of scientific consensus addresses the problems that arise when a powerful leader in the scientific community is just flat wrong (e.g. Newton wrt the corpuscular theory of light and Einsteen wrt quantum theory).

    Peer review, scientific journals, on-line publishing… all originating from within science.

    Science will change when it has to. However, if you are waiting for the scientists to become “nice”, you will wait a long time. People who are passionate about truth are rarely nice, especially when truth is under threat.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Dec 2011 @ 7:48 PM

  628. Ray @ 627,

    Technically, confirmation bias is the tendency to construe information so as to confirm a pre-existing hypothesis. It is a cognitive bias and can exist independently of a motivational bias. What you seem to be referring to is motivated reasoning – the tendency to come to the conclusion we wish to arrive at. The end result is the same though.

    Sorry to be pedantic.

    Comment by anon — 3 Dec 2011 @ 8:54 PM

  629. anon, I stand corrected and educated. Thank you.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 Dec 2011 @ 9:35 PM

  630. Salamano,

    I’d like you to be more specific about what reforms you think are being ignored (and cite sources on what has been explicitly set aside or postponed—I’m interested).

    The IPCC is responding to the IAC recommendations (IPCC Abu Dhabi, May 13 press release; IAC statement). As the 5th assessment was already underway when those recommendations were made, I think the IPCC cannot be expected to implement all of them in full in this round.

    Ray,

    for once, I don’t think your remarks about “reforms” are to the point. Your examples of “well meaning regulation” (#617) refer to regulations intended to restrict the flow of scientific information for strategic or financial gain, not to improve on the scientific process or to enhance the transparency of scientific assessments that inform public policy. And Salamano is not talking about reforming the scientific process as such (I think).

    Comment by CM — 4 Dec 2011 @ 2:34 AM

  631. CM,
    The purpose of my comments was to demonstrate that well intentioned reforms (or in the case of Lysenko, dictatorial reforms) imposed from without never work. Science, despite being a conservative institution, rather quickly adopts any reforms that facilitate the process of doing science. In the case of Climategate, the product (scientific understanding) was never compromised. This is the only thing science itself has to offer.

    The problem Salamano is trying to address (and I do give him credit for sincerity) is that people try to find reasons for rejecting the scientific facts when they find their prejudices challenged. As demonstrated by the strict adherence of the likes of Herman Cain and Bill Clinton to The Nine Commandments, people will find reasons for rejecting inconvenient facts even when they descend by holy writ.

    Since science is delivering what it is intended to deliver, and since the reasons for rejection of the science have nothing to do with its quality, and everything to do with the ideological blinders of those rejecting the science, it seems to me that the problem is not to be solved by changing the scientific process, but rather by
    1)educating people as to how (and why) science works
    2)educating people so that they understand their tendencies to misperceive risk and succumb to motivated reasoning (thank you, anon)
    3)electing leaders who seek to govern based on the best available information rather than ideological purity.

    The reforms that actually enhance the product of doing science will be embraced quickly by science of its own accord. Those imposed from without 1)will not address the real problem, 2)will retard scientific progress.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Dec 2011 @ 8:25 AM

  632. @591 That’s a pleasing thought. Sorry I don’t have 365 days to spend. I’d love to be part of it.

    Comment by mrlee — 4 Dec 2011 @ 9:51 AM

  633. “However, in this situation, you have the a set of stakeholders (like I have been describing) that are pre-disposed to accept that which they desire to be true without vetting, and to seek ways to reject that which is unsavory by means of inadmissability (you can call this confirmation bias, or whatever term you want). These folks have scored a hit with regard to various steps of reform that aren’t happening for which these emails play a part in highlighting the need. Simply ignoring it, declaring them “too stupid to survive” or whatever else is not going to achieve any objective. Outside of communist countries or ones without due-process” – Salamano

    Here you describe a real problem, but your supposed solution would not go any way whatever toward solving it, since the denialists can create, and have created, “scandals” out of thin air.

    “these folks essentially control the ground that decides whether certain objectives on local or national levels are enacted or not.”

    If by “these folks” you mean the public, I stand astonished at your naivity. The range of views treated as worthy of serious consideration is almost entirely set by the medias’ owners, customers (i.e. large advertisers), and regulators – which is to say, those with serious wealth and power.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 4 Dec 2011 @ 10:19 AM

  634. Salamano wrote: “You are not seeing this issue through the same prism.”

    You are “seeing this issue” through the “prism” of a steady stream of vague and utterly unsupported innuendo about unspecified wrong-doing by climate scientists — the exact sort of discourse that the criminals who stole and released these emails, and the propagandists who are systematically misrepresenting, distorting, misquoting and cherry-picking these emails, intend to generate.

    It is nothing but vapid content-free hand-waving, and it is quite evidently deliberate. The good people who are patiently trying to persuade you to learn something about science are, I fear, wasting their time.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 Dec 2011 @ 10:51 AM

  635. @634

    “…steady stream of vague and utterly unsupported innuendo about unspecified wrong-doing by climate scientists…”

    …is an incorrect phrase, except if you use semantic wiggle-room to define “wrong-doing” only in a legal context so you can dismiss everything else. I suspect that the folks that are actually in the science and referenced by the IAC and the Muir-Russell panels know exactly what I’ve been repeatedly talking about, despite the calls for repeated specification.

    CM @630 knows what I’m talking about– and the recent response by the IPCC allowing them to set-aside various IAC recommendations because the 5th assessment is already underway to me is somewhat of a cop-out (compared to taking it more seriously). Others aren’t going to be finalized in methodology until 2013. “Working toward” adopting conflict-of-interest reform is just going to let the issue linger. Who knows…maybe in 2013 all will be fine.

    I’m sure many of you can come up with all sorts of parallels in which non-fast action of reform (under whatever guise, in whatever other area) results in an unhelpful public relations performance together with un-necessary fodder for detractors.

    @633

    “If by “these folks” you mean the public, I stand astonished at your naivity. The range of views treated as worthy of serious consideration is almost entirely set by the medias’ owners, customers (i.e. large advertisers), and regulators – which is to say, those with serious wealth and power.”

    This discussion is off-topic. However, take a ride down to the WV coal-fields, or perhaps to SD natural-gas fields. You’ll find people who knowingly work in polluted environments, and hear about it every day. Some ‘naivete’ is also on the part of advocacy-wonks who think that people will choose the health of themselves or their environment over their own financial health– even if they fully understand the realities of both. The direct always seems to trump the diffuse. You are ignoring the fact that (so-far) the policy proposals and advocacy positions do not have an answer for what to do about the folks that will be negatively impacted by the coming economic paradigm shift. If you’ve ever seen a local school-bond levy go down in flames in a community, you would know that it doesn’t take a Murdoch or Koch empire worth of advertising and meddling to set people against a proposal that’s going to hurt them in the wallet, no matter how beneficial it is to the community.

    The science is clear on human-caused climate change, but people are making decisions on all-sides of this issue with their own backyards and wallets in mind first. This is not ‘only’ because of Koch-funded or Murdoch empire nefariousness. Indeed, some of that is not eliminatable without removing free-speech or due-process provisions (in America anyway). Maybe a better idea would be to have an answer for it as part of the policy package. That way there’s at least something attractive for some of these folks (and no, participation in the rescue of the planet for future generations is not good enough. If that were the case, there’d have been a whole lot less obstinance to things like Cape Wind).

    I think everything’s been said on this…There’s some mutual understanding, and there’s some talking around each other. Time will tell what we actually see in this area.

    Comment by Salamano — 4 Dec 2011 @ 3:37 PM

  636. Salamano, You have proposed nothing that I can see other than “openness”. What is more open that publishing one’s code and data to the extent that the law allows? And what is more you’ve not even presented a plausibility argument that your suggestions would make any difference to the public.

    The problem is not that denialists don’t like the evidence or the people presenting the evidence, it is that they refuse to even look at the evidence because of their ideological blinders. Science offers a way to transcend ideological blinders–but if your ideological blinders cause you to reject science, you’re kinda screwed.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 Dec 2011 @ 8:42 PM

  637. You are ignoring the fact that (so-far) the policy proposals and advocacy positions do not have an answer for what to do about the coming economic paradigm shift.,

    Well, as long as denialists are successful in convincing leadership that there is no coming economic paradigm shift, why would you expect action on this front?

    It is the science paradigm’s charge to say “due X, Y happens”. “paradigm shifts” and such things are the realm of politics. Political failure says nothing about science.

    Sorry …

    Comment by dhogaza — 4 Dec 2011 @ 11:12 PM

  638. Ray Ladbury wrote to Salamano: “You have proposed nothing that I can see other than ‘openness’.”

    A perusal of Salamano’s numerous, lengthy and verbose comments shows that he has actually said NOTHING WHATSOEVER that is concrete, specific or actionable. All he’s doing is spinning the denialist propaganda machine’s distortions and misrepresentations of the stolen emails into ominous, vague noises about unspecified problems with the conduct of climate science.

    Discourse like Salamano’s comments is the fuzzy, greenish mold growing on the two-year old turkey.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Dec 2011 @ 10:31 AM

  639. Tim Osborne #2347: “Also, we set all post-1960 values to missing in the MXD data set (due to decline), and the method will infill these, estimating them from the real temperatures – another way of “correcting” for the decline, though may be not defensible!”

    Speak to us about the context of that.

    [Response: Read the whole email. Osborn is using RegEM to do a reconstruction of temperature using his MXD tree ring data. The method as programmed by Tapio Schneider produces a record that is equal to the real temperature series where they exist and the imputed values elsewhere, for both the MXD data and the temperature reconstruction. If you don't include MXD data post-1960, they will be imputed by the RegEM algorithm (based on correlations and covariance from where there are both sets of data). - gavin]

    Comment by Mike M — 5 Dec 2011 @ 11:41 AM

  640. 605, Ray Ladbury: In reality, the issue is not the emails or any misbehavior they might reveal. Rather it is in the lack of understanding the public have of how science works.

    The public gets most of its information from the non-peer-reviewed testimony and writing of scientists: editorial, speeches, comments to reporters, Congressional testimony, and so forth. The emails reveal that these particular scientists withheld from the public doubts about the scientific claims that they made. That may not have any effect on the actual science, but it surely will, and ought, affect the way the public responds to those scientists in the future. Whenever they speak, write or testify, the public will rightly ask “What are they leaving out this time?” or “Do they really believe all that stuff?” or “Is that really what the science says?”

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 5 Dec 2011 @ 3:01 PM

  641. “Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Dec 2011 @ 4:51 PM

  642. Septic Matthew wrote: “The public gets most of its information from the non-peer-reviewed testimony and writing of scientists”.

    Wrong. As the National Academy of Sciences noted in a report issued last May, the public does NOT get “most of its information” from the “testimony and writing of scientists”, peer-reviewed or otherwise, but from the mass media (emphasis added):

    Most people rely on secondary sources for information, especially the mass media; and some of these sources are affected by concerted campaigns against policies to limit CO2 emissions, which promote beliefs about climate change that are not well-supported by scientific evidence. U.S. media coverage sometimes presents aspects of climate change that are uncontroversial among the research community as being matters of serious scientific debate. Such factors likely play a role in the increasing polarization of public beliefs about climate change, along lines of political ideology, that has been observed in the United States.

    Septic Matthew wrote: “The emails reveal that these particular scientists withheld from the public doubts about the scientific claims that they made.”

    The emails reveal nothing of the kind, and your baseless claim is a fine example of the false, distorted and misleading information to which the public is constantly subjected — for the exact purpose of sowing unwarranted public “doubts” about the science.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Dec 2011 @ 5:09 PM

  643. Gavin & Eric,

    THANK YOU for the work that you do. I imagine you have days in which you wonder whether the work you do is worth it. I want you to know that it is. You are performing a VERY valuable public service. So, again… THANK YOU!

    To the honest skeptics out there, I’d like to share my story with you. I’ve spent over 500 hours over the past five years researching both sides of the AGW debate in an attempt to form an unbiased opinion on this divisive issue. I’ve read hundreds of skeptics articles and researched the science that they’ve attacked, and I’ve come to one undeniable conclusion: many (most) skeptics articles are disingenuous propaganda, littered with half-truths and flat out lies. If you are getting your science information from a think-tank or a radio/tv talk show or blog or a skeptical friend, consider the possibility that you are being manipulated. Do yourself a huge favor – study logic and logical fallacies – and learn to look for tell-tale signs of manipulation. Armed with the power of logic, you’ll learn pretty quickly that you are being abused.

    Don’t believe me? Here are just a couple examples (I could list hundreds). 1. (http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html). This oft-referenced skeptics article suggests that AGW is all but impossible because water vapor accounts for 95% of the greenhouse effect. It looks quite authoritative as it actually provides references (this is quite rare for a skeptics article)… including NINE references to support it’s central argument about water vapor. Curious, I investigated the nine references and found a mixture of hearsay, which is very weak authority, and legitimate science that directly contradicts the author’s premise. 2. Search the internet for articles discussing the Arctic sea ice melt in 2007. You’ll find that many of the skeptics articles point to a high March 2008 sea-ice level as evidence that Arctic sea ice is not diminishing. This is a magician’s trick as March is the height of winter – and annual winter ice growth – in the Arctic, meaning it is not a valid representation of perennial sea ice levels, which are best measured during the Arctic summer months of July – September. These sleights-of-hand are all too common in the skeptics articles I’ve read, which were all provided to me by an admitted AGW skeptic.

    Comment by Serick — 5 Dec 2011 @ 5:45 PM

  644. The public gets most of its information from the non-peer-reviewed testimony and writing of scientists…

    What makes you so sure about that, at least in the US (and to a lesser extent the UK and Australia), and on the topic of climate change? Which media environment have you been living in the last decade or two? It doesn’t bear much resemblance to the ones I’ve been exposed to.

    The public seems to get most of its information from newspaper and TV pieces that are almost always written by non-scientists, and occasionally deign to take care to somewhat accurately represent what the science says. (Ever been to Deltoid and checked out its The Australian’s War On Science series, for one example? And that’s here in Australia – it’s arguably significantly worse in the US with the audience reach of Fox News added to the mix.)

    The emails reveal that these particular scientists withheld from the public doubts about the scientific claims that they made.

    That is fallacious logic, at least as expressed there. The e-mails might say they intended to “withhold doubts” (although quite often the people doing the interpretation seem to be putting their own spin on what they actually mean.) They might even say they had withheld doubts.

    But none of that demonstrates that any such doubts were actually withheld. To deduce that, one has to examine the totality of the evidence – the entire set of work and public comments of the scientists in question. (For example, denialists are still quoting an email from “ClimateGate 1″ saying that a certain paper by (IIRC) McIntyre & McKitrick’s will be kept out of the IPCC report. They never quote the IPCC reference to the very same paper – and rapidly change the subject when this is pointed out to them.)

    And disregarding all that, a fallacious presumption remains embedded in your thesis: that science rests on individual scientists and what they say/believe/do, rather than the joint (and highly intellectually adversarial) endeavour undertaken by the entire set of scientists in a given field which ultimately weeds out false claims and bad actors. Although in this case the presumption may be held by many members of the non-scientific public…which gets back to earlier points that people don’t understand how science works – and that lack of understanding, especially when deliberately exploited by contrarian interests, is going to contribute to hurting many people and the environment.

    Comment by Lotharsson — 5 Dec 2011 @ 7:17 PM

  645. Septic Matthew,
    Oh ferchrissake. Of course they had doubts. That’s inherent in science. The fact remains, though, that by any measure you care to choose, the fact of anthropogenic warming is established with 90% confidence or better.

    Again, the problem is that people don’t understand how science works. That a scientist may have doubts about some particular analysis doesn’t mean he is ready to throw out the entire concept of greenhouse gasses, and of course, whenever you reconstruct a model from empirical data there is always a remote possibility that the data can conspire to fool you. The question is whether you want to wager the future of human civilization on a >20:1 longshot.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 5 Dec 2011 @ 8:07 PM

  646. 645, Ray Ladbury: Again, the problem is that people don’t understand how science works.

    Maybe. People do understand how lobbying works.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 6 Dec 2011 @ 7:24 PM

  647. Septic Matthew: “People do understand how lobbying works.”

    Actually, no they don’t. They don’t understand how contributions purchace influence without necessarily amounting to bribery. They don’t understand how to counter the influence of political money. Do you?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Dec 2011 @ 8:58 PM

  648. > people do understand how lobbying works

    I think if they did, it wouldn’t.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2011 @ 9:08 PM

  649. People vary when they attempt to describe a likely or attractive future
    http://future-drama.tumblr.com/
    featuring among others the first pitch for the computer mouse, long ago.

    ReCaptcha says: “mousse, Writeal”
    which is just eerie

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Dec 2011 @ 9:15 PM

  650. I think it’s high time that scientists like Mr. Mann sue these people for libel. They’re claiming that you’re guilty of fraud, lying and worse, which is defamatory. And you’re not guilty of it. It’s not true and you have several investigations by credible institutions to prove it. Yet they keep saying it, which shows a reckless disregard for the truth. Suing them would bring attention to the investigations and to the fact that they’re lying. It would also give scientist such as yourself the subpoena power to dig into who’s backing them and why in your quest to prove malice.

    Comment by ds — 6 Dec 2011 @ 9:38 PM

  651. 647 Ray asked, “They don’t understand how contributions purchace influence without necessarily amounting to bribery. They don’t understand how to counter the influence of political money. Do you?”

    Well, what if all political contributions had to be blind? Send them through an aggregating firm/govt agency so no candidate could know where his financial support comes from.

    Back on topic, I only read the emails/fragments here, but I assume the ones brought up were the most significant. I didn’t see anything remotely as quote-worthy as in the first batch and I agree that they should have issued these long ago. I’d give the hacker a “D” on this batch. Turned in the work, but dismal product.

    Comment by RichardC — 7 Dec 2011 @ 3:54 AM

  652. Gavin,

    I’m not interested in the ‘science’, if being ‘interested’ means arguing with scientists against their obvious expertise, but I am interested in a ‘science’ that might become circumscribed by its own prickly self defensiveness. I think that has become a bit of a burden to you and to the wider public. It is a defensive line,I know, which is difficult to get out of. Perhaps you will ask me for examples and evidence but I know that that’s a fools path, especially on this site. For what I’m asking for is a change of feeling and that cannot be evidenced. It is not enough for anyone to say that, because I was under attack, I had to behave such and such way, because as a scientist one must necessarily be above any such behaviour, however stinging, personally, it might be. One marginalises what one says by constantly defending against margins. Be above it, be generous to oneself, and therefore scientific.

    Comment by Lewis Deane — 7 Dec 2011 @ 5:15 AM

  653. #650–There have been a couple of instances where libeled scientists have sued: Dr. Rajendra Pachauri sued in the UK, and Dr. Andrew Weaver sued in Canada. In both cases, the scientists accepted settlements before the cases could go to trial–in both cases, public apologies were part of the package. In a third case, also from the UK, Dr. Simon Lewis filed a complaint with the Press Commission, which also won a retraction and apology.

    A little more detail here (incidentally to the book review/summary):

    http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Keeping-Our-Cool-a-review

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 7 Dec 2011 @ 7:12 AM

  654. Lewis Deane @ 652

    “For what I’m asking for is a change of feeling and that cannot be evidenced.”

    “Feeling and that cannot be evidenced?” Flimsy case for tone trolling, if you ask me.

    Dear Scientists,
    Please be nice and don’t stand up for yourselves. It makes it hard for us to puff ourselves up and trash you.
    Sincerely,
    Dr. Denialist

    Comment by Radge Havers — 7 Dec 2011 @ 10:18 AM

  655. > as a scientist one must necessarily be above any such behaviour

    Nonsense. http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=886

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Dec 2011 @ 10:44 AM

  656. Lewis Deane wrote: “I am interested in a ‘science’ that might become circumscribed by its own prickly self defensiveness”

    So how do you think scientists ought to respond to slander, libel, constant misrepresentation of their work by major media organizations, theft of their emails, politically-motivated witch hunts by powerful public officials, and even death threats?

    Lewis Deane wrote: “you will ask me for examples and evidence but I know that that’s a fools path, especially on this site”

    Well,yes — if you think examples and evidence are for “fools”, then this is probably not the site for you.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Dec 2011 @ 12:01 PM

  657. Lewis Deane #652

    “It is not enough for anyone to say that, because I was under attack, I had to behave such and such way, because as a scientist one must necessarily be above any such behaviour…”

    What colour is the sky on your planet? The people you are describing certainly don’t exist on this one. The strength of the scientific method is not provided by the exemplary behaviour of scientists, but because it allows them to be just as human as you or I, adversarial, obnoxious, biased and wrong, and then sets them (or more particularly their arguments) against one another. Capice?

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 7 Dec 2011 @ 12:42 PM

  658. The Fellowship/Team “circumscribed by its own prickly defensiveness”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YpywcuItPQ at about 0:59.

    This leaked footage reveals alarmist groupthink and shockingly bad behavior—see them with swords raised, threatening violence? You’d think they’re surrounded by a horde of goblins or something. “Moriagate” opened my eyes. Sauron is not gathering an army, he’s just recovering from the Third Age.

    Comment by CM — 7 Dec 2011 @ 2:31 PM

  659. #656, ‘secularanimist’, (what can be a ‘secular’ ‘animist’, by the way, I’m fascinated?)

    You ask “So how do you think scientists ought to respond?” Not, assuredly, in the manner of some of the ‘respondents’ to my rather, I believe, considered post, after thinking a long time. By the way, I would love to know what ‘tone trolling’ is? As opposed to just ‘trolling’, which I obviously haven’t done! A mystery, like ‘animism’?

    No my post was meaningfully ‘idealistic’ for a reason and as an appeal to reason. The ‘ideal’ can never be achieved but without such ‘ideals’, aimed at, we are nothing.

    Comment by Lewis Deane — 8 Dec 2011 @ 3:17 AM

  660. Lewis Deane #659 Would you prefer if I just pointed out that you’re flat wrong, and there isn’t a skerrik of evidence to support your opinion, and that science has produced a mountain of knowledge just fine despite the fact that scientists are human? Or are you one of those people who believes your opinion counts for something whether or not it fails the reality check?

    Comment by One Anonymous Bloke — 8 Dec 2011 @ 2:32 PM

  661. #659–

    A brief “troll catalog”:

    http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Troll

    Trolling, like homicide, rests in part upon intent. I’m quite sure that some apparent trolling is unintentional–and just as sure that the reverse is true in other cases. There’s also an excluded middle ground.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 8 Dec 2011 @ 2:34 PM

  662. See also
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/04/advanced-trolling-101.html
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/03/its-always-f-third-referee.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Dec 2011 @ 3:01 PM

  663. Lewis Deane wrote: “what can be a ‘secular’ ‘animist’, by the way, I’m fascinated”

    Off topic, but Secular Animism is the general case of which Secular Humanism is a special case, ie. it encompasses all sentient beings, not only humans.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 8 Dec 2011 @ 3:31 PM

  664. Lewis Deane : You write as if climate scientists “prickly defensiveness” is somehow a proven fact, which it isn’t. Do you think that’s why they’re not invited onto Fox News to give the facts more often? That it’s why the Washington Post doesn’t contact them before misrepresenting them in print?

    If low public visibilty is the result of bad behaviour, how do you explain the prominence of denialists whose major product is slander and lies, revealed over and over again? The behaviour of denialists is appalling – would you want to be in the same room as McIntyre? Morano? Watts? Monckton?

    The denial cult has been vocally convinced of scientific fraud and corruption since the issue arose, all they’ve ever lacked was some evidence. The stolen emails, communications between the main conspirators in unguarded moments, must necessarily contain the evidence … they just still can’t find it. And they still get on TV. Unlike Sir David Attenborough in the US if he talks about global warming.

    I think your concern is wildly misdirected.

    Comment by Cugel — 8 Dec 2011 @ 6:29 PM

  665. Lewis Deane: “…as a scientist one must necessarily be above any such behaviour, however stinging, personally, it might be.”

    Dude, you’re kidding, right? Have you ever even known a scientist? I can assure you that as a scientist, I have seen some epic feuds, tantrums and tirades. I’ve also known some who rivaled the most saintly of saints in moral rectitude.

    Lewis, I do hereby bestow upon you one clue: You are missing the point. Science does not depend for its validity on the saintliness of its practitioners. It helps if they tell the truth, but if thy don’t, they will be revealed as liars by the next scientist who looks at their work–and then they will cease to be scientists. Science works because scientists are really curious about what they study. They lie awake at night thinking about it, planning their next investigation or experiment.

    They may be wrong, but if they are wrong, they will not convince their peers, and their ideas will wither because they have no explanatory or predictive power.

    So it does not matter whether scientists are saints or sinners. What matters is that they reveal the closest approximation to truth we humans have managed to come up with.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 8 Dec 2011 @ 7:00 PM

  666. Regarding 2-year-old cases, there is this case of investigation into plagiarism in the Wegman report that is inresolved until today.

    Raymond Bradley filed an official complaint of plagiarism with GMU on this, and it’s now one year + 2 months and no resolution. The notion that GMU is dragging it’s feet seems to have become an understatement of the first kind in this case.

    USA Today added a note (on May 26, 2011) to their original post on Oct 8, 2010,
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/10/wegman-plagiarism-investigation-/1
    that :

    GMU spokesman Dan Walsch clarified in the May 26, 2011, Nature journal that the year-old investigation is still in its preliminary “inquiry” stage, rather than a full investigation.

    with the ‘apology’ from Dan Walch (GMU) that

    In terms of my comments this past fall, my understanding of the internal procedure was not as clear then as it is now

    Now, 7 months after Walch made this statement, he again seems to not be clear about GMU’s internal procedures :
    http://universitypolicy.gmu.edu/4007res.html

    which clearly state :

    The inquiry committee completes the inquiry, including the preparation of a final inquiry report that includes any comments received from the respondent, within 60 days of the committee’s first meeting unless the Dean or Director determines, and documents in the inquiry record, that the circumstances warrant a longer period

    Many questions emerge : Who are the members of the inquiry committee ? Did they produce a report yet ? Did the Dean or Director at GMU determine that the cicumstances warrant a longer period than what GMU’s own policy demands ? And if so, what was the reason and what will be the new timeline for completing the inquiry ? And if not, what on Earth is holding up GMU to investigate misconduct in the Wegman report, which after all, has been a pivotal piece of “evidence” quoted by Senators and House Representatives alike, as evidence that climate science is a “hoax” and regulation against greenhouse gas emissions is not warranted.

    May it be time for Raymond Bradley to (once again) insist on a resolution to the investigation into his official complaint ? Or may it be time to challenge GMU legally on violation of it’s own scientific misconduct policies ?

    Comment by Rob Dekker — 13 Dec 2011 @ 3:28 AM

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