Did we call it or what

Steve Milloy has let fly with the results of his twisted survey of climate scientists, pretty much as we expected. It’s not worth analyzing in any great depth, I’m sure we all have better ways to spend our time, but one tidbit jumped out at me.

The first question of the survey was

Which best describes the reason(s) for climate change?.

The survey offered a choice between human activity or natural variation, or some combination of the two. How to answer this? Before a few decades ago, natural variability was the right answer, but since about 1970, human activity has taken over.

I emailed Milloy with my concern about the indeterminate time scope of the question, and he replied

Hi David,

Present tense verbs imply ongoing climate change.

but now from the press release,

Another notable result is that an astounding 20% of those surveyed said that human activity is the principal driver of climate change.

“So was there no climate change before mankind?” Milloy asked.

The rest is more of the same. Garbage in, trash talk out. OK, back to work, enough time wasted on this.

283 comments on this post.
  1. Walt Bennett:

    Precious.

  2. Spencer:

    Actually the survey instrument and the responses include some interesting items, which the press release does NOT report. It could have said, for example, “93% of those surveyed agreed that manmade CO2 emissions are important in climate change.” Gee, wonder why they didn’t report that?

    The biggest laugh is a question that asks about the consequences of one degree of warming, which is about what we’ve experienced since 1850. Somehow they forgot to ask about the additional three (best-guess) degrees expected by the end of the present century. Oh, the humanity!

  3. John P. Reisman:

    Hi David, I’ll chime in on this just for fun.

    Here is a list of my predictions for how he would spin his answers along with the question list (published on Oct. 23, 2007)

    http://uscentrist.org/news/2007/docs/demand-debate

    and the original linked article from the Centrist Party:

    http://uscentrist.org/news/2007/word-play/

  4. Winnebago:

    With the sample size at 54 out of a population of 354, Milloy’s fraud has a confidence interval of +/-12. Wonder why he doesn’t include that info?

  5. John P. Reisman:

    Apparently, Steve Milloy is just as predictable as Global Warming!

  6. catman306:

    Some people use statistics to try and change reality and people’s perceptions of reality. Scientists use them to describe what they find and what they can predict using those findings.

    If a lawyer can be disbarred for improper behavior why can’t a statistician?

  7. Roger William Chamberlin:

    Enough talk already…

    Our planet is DYING , and we stand around and talk about who made the weather change?

    If it were natural the problem would still be the same, life CANNOT cope with teh rate of change, it doesn’t have the means , never had to cope with this rate of change before and it’s FAILING

    A quarter of this rate it can just about cope with…

    Seriously we shall soon lose key species and then there is no way back or forward for anyone… and people will wonder why we stood around talking when we had so many things we could do now… every one of us …

  8. Chris C:

    Just more evidence showing such skeptics to be very scientific. The predictive and explanatory power is always there, with very high confidence. A bit more work and we might be able to model the future arguments. If I say “CO2 is a greenhouse gas” anyone think we can say with ~95% confidence the answer will be “well water vapor is more powerful”? Perhaps if we show them the glacial-interglacial graph, we can say with, say, 90% confidence they will bring up the CO2 lag. Or maybe we can use paleo-skeptic arguments for prediction. After all, the same stuff has been around for years now. In the case above, we’ve seen similar stuff before- picking out selective uses of information, cherry-picking, twisting what people say, etc.

    Almost a law…law of skeptical arguments.

  9. Roger William Chamberlin:

    “The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh” – King Solomon

  10. Greg Simpson:

    I said when the poll was originally discussed here that I thought the poll was reasonable but not perfect, and I think the results confirm this. It is difficult to make such general questions be so unambiguous that most people would feel that only one answer is at all right, so if you look at the totals for the two highest votes (which are always two that would be adjacent if they were all ranked in a spectrum of beliefs) you would get the following agreement totals:

    1: 83%
    2: 87%
    3: 91%
    4: 87%
    5: 87%

    For question six the two choices with the most votes are not what I would call adjacent (even though they were listed consecutively in the poll), but 68% chose one of the two answers that implied it was a bad question.

    Spinning this to be a lack of consensus is laughable.

  11. FP:

    Please Vote on this…

    Right Wing Campaigns To Get Climate Skeptic’s Blog Named ‘Best Science Blog’ In Weblog Awards

    At 5:00 PM (EST) tonight, voting will close in the fifth annual Weblog Awards, “the world’s largest blog competition.” In the competition, participants are allowed to “vote once every 24 hours in each poll.”

    DeSmogBlog is encouraging those who value science to vote for the current second-place contender, Bad Astronomy Blog. http://thinkprogress.org/2007/11/08/weblog-science-denial/

  12. Figen Mekik:

    Milloy needs a life and a more constructive and productive pursuit than this weird survey.

  13. Pekka J. Kostamo:

    Seen the results of the BBC global poll on climate change?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/7075759.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/02_11_07bbcclimatesurvey.pdf

    Apparently, in the democratic system we elect the politicians to execute someone else’s agenda …

    Besides, consider the sorry state of science education …

  14. BrianR:

    The real frustrating part is that someone like Milloy doesn’t even need a truly valid study…a fake one will do. And he knows this…it’s diabolical. He’s in the business of disseminating bunk info. As long as he keeps doing it continuously and fast, his loyalists will accept it and spread it around. And then when someone points out the inconsistencies (or pure fiction) of what he’s saying, it doesn’t matter at that point.

    Frustrating indeed.

  15. Surly:

    What a completely bogus survey and analysis! The final two questions are completely meaningless — idea climate indeed.

    The problem is that this will be trotted out and selectively used to bolster the denialists’ side.

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics . . .

  16. tom:

    # 7. please define ‘key species’?

  17. NeilT:

    It is always interesting to see how these things are being spun.

    I have a friend who is well educated and very aware who does not deny the changes are happening, just why.

    He said to me last week “I would be more inclined to believe that we are doing this if the Governments didn’t try and use it for tax raising agendas, rather than to fix the probem”.

    So spinning surveys like this are just “comfort food” for the skeptics.

    What I find more distressing is the complete inability of the scientific community (and the press) to tell the situation the way that people will understand.

    figures like:

    Ice extent
    Ice area
    Ice thickness

    Do not tell the entire story. After all, the best case I have seen this year is this

    43% loss of Ice Area
    50% loss of Ice thickness

    since the 1950’s. Now I’m totally rubbish at maths, but I can see that 43% loss of half the Ice means we have lost 71.5% of the “ICE” in the Arctic. A totally different story to what is being communicated to the population.

    The worst case I have seen is 55% loss of area and 66% loss of thickness which means an 85% loss of “ICE” in the Arctic.

    Tell the people we have lost 70 or 85 percent of the Ice up there and the significant changes we are seeing today are totally understandable and believable.

    It’s just about communication. Not all about science.

  18. Jim Dukelow:

    Re #6

    Steve Milloy is both a statistician by education and a lawyer, so he might reasonably be multiply-disbarred.

    Best regards.

  19. Edward Greisch:

    Here’s an even “better” one: Somebody named Iconoclast421 said on alternet.org that there weren’t any oceans before 200 million years ago, at which time, the earth split open and grew rapidly.

    Reference:
    “The Accidental Mind” by David J. Linden, 2007 Belknap Press of Harvard
    University Press.

    [edit – no discussion of religion – take it somewhere else]

  20. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE “Present tense verbs imply ongoing climate change.”

    No they don’t necessarily. I would interpret, “Which best describes the reason(s) for climate change?” as a question regarding a generality or law, as in “High cholesterol diets cause heart disease.” Time is unspecified. Then I would feel tricked and stumped as to how to answer it. I teach research methods, including survey questions, and this is an example of a very badly worded question, leading to serious problems with reliability.

    If Milloy meant it to refer specifically to the present situation, it could have easily been worded, “Which best describes the reason(s) for current climate change?” And if he meant “in general” or as a law/theory, then he could have asked, “Which best describes the reason(s) for climate change in general (both in the past and present)?” And, of course, he would have to have an exhaustive list of possible causes, and the option of not ranking them, or just keep the response slot open-ended.

    I think Hopi has separate tenses that would cover both situations, one tense for generality/law, and one for current situation. He really should have asked the question in Hopi. Then he might have better understood what he was asking, as well as what the responses meant.

  21. Dave Rado:

    Re. #20, Lynn Vincentnathan:

    If Milloy meant it to refer specifically to the present situation

    Milloy meant to get misleading statistics that he could use as propaganda. He knew exactly what he was doing.

  22. Joe Duck:

    The response rate – 54 of 345, combined with the bias of the researcher makes the survey pretty much worthless. It would be nice to have regular follow up surveys of IPCC participants to help those of us in the lay community interpret the implications of new studies. For example how many IPCC folks now feel the sea level rise estimates were too conservative? Role of Greenland, etc.

  23. Simmons:

    I love it when climate ‘skeptics’ throw fake numbers and statistics at you. It’s so pathetic and easy to refute.

  24. Fergus Brown:

    #22 Joe Duck: such a survey (impartial) has been submitted, but has not as yet been published. It, too, will be jumped on as ammo for skeptics because it suggests the unsurprising conclusion that it looks like there’s a range of opinions about the science in the IPCC AR4. Perhaps if more people had contributed, the results would have been different. It is hard to escape the (informal) conclusion that at least some scientists are uncomfortable with some basic parts of the AR4 (in both directions). Good mews is that there no longer appear to be any self-confessed CO2 denialists.
    Regards,

  25. mark capporal:

    All:

    I was confused about the human induced climate change issue, so I decided to read “Climate Change 2007, The Physical Science Basis”.
    I just started it so the answer may be in the book somewhere, but what is the scientific basis for the “radiative forcing” units? How are these measurements determined?

    Mark

  26. Gary:

    #22, Surveys are certainly difficult to have good control over. The way questions are asked will greatly influence the answers. It is unlikely that any one will really be able to produce unbiased questions that get to the answers we are looking for. It could be worth asking questions using actual current data rather than projections. Such as “Do you consider the current rate of sea level rise, measured by satellite altimetry, of 3mm per year http://www.jason.oceanobs.com/html/actualites/indic/msl/welcome_uk.html to be dangerous?”

  27. Ken:

    Funny how my read of the data is different than Milloy’s press release. I look at the last 2 questions and say:
    “96% of respondents do not consider a 1 degree warming desirable (obviously meaning a 2 – 5 degree warming could be catastrophic)” and “only 2% think the warming we’re seeing is leading to an ideal climate”. That sounds like a consensus to me.

  28. Lawrence Brown:

    I believe the key word here is “consensus”. Mr. Milloy states in the article referred to thus-“”Our results indicate that the notion of a meaningful scientific
    consensus on global warming is ludicrous,” said Steve Milloy,
    DemandDebate.com’s executive director.

    Now here’s a quote from “Field Notes From A Catastrophe” by Elizabeth Kolbert.
    “A few years ago,pollster Frank Luntz prepared a strategy memo for Republican members of Congress coaching them on how to deal with a variety of environmental issues……….Under the heading ‘Winning the Global Warming Debate,’ Luntz
    wrote ‘The scientific debate is closing (against us)but not yet closed. There is still a window of
    opportunity to challenge the science.’ He warned ‘Voters believe there is NO CONSENSUS (emphasis his) about global warming in the SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY ( emphasis mine). Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are
    settled, their views on global warming will change accordingly………..” )(pg. 163).

    Note his use of ‘Voters believe’. His main concern is getting votes. How cynical can you get?! Never mind, I already know.

  29. Joel Shore:

    Interesting…Milloy had scientists damned either way for their answer to the vague question about the causes of climate change. I knew that he was making the timeframe vague in order to try to get them to say that natural processes are important. However, apparently he didn’t get that answer as he wanted to, so instead he is spinning it as if he meant it to mean over all time and aren’t these scientists silly to blame it all on humans?!!

    In other words, no matter what answer to that question that scientists had given, he would have spun it in his favor! It is always better to have a conclusion that is completely independent of the results of your study if what you want is just to provide evidence for you conclusion. However, it is a lousy way to do science.

  30. Richard Ordway:

    ALERT!!!!! When I try to type in to GOOGLE anything to do with “RealClimate.org”, etc. at 8:24 PM MST November 8, 2007 it DOES NOT DISPLAY ANY RealClimate.org clickable links!!!!

    SOMEONE please verify this. (Maybe, it’s just me???).

    Thanks,

  31. Magnus W:

    Well that Milloy takes every chance he gets to confuse is expected I guess, http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/11/junkscience_endorses_cliamte_a.php

  32. Robert A. Rohde:

    Maybe I’m a bit of an idealist about this, but I continue to believe that a well constructed survey of scientists would be helpful.

    Everyone here likes to say that there is agreement or consensus among scientists about global warming, etc. And perhaps most scientists involved with it are comfortable about this, but simply repeating the mantra of “consensus” doesn’t carry over well to the public. For example, a 2005 PIPA poll found only 52% of Americans actually agreed that “there is a consensus among the great majority of scientists that global warming exists and could cause significant damage”.

    All opponents have to do is trot out some skeptic for the news media, and many parts of the public will wonder about the reality of that “consensus” which no one seems willing to quantify. Or more precisely, no one except the skeptics is willing to quantify. Polls like the one discussed here do exist and get communicated to the public whether or not they are well-designed, and they serve as another argument against “consensus”.

    If a rigourous and well-respected survey could say something like “97% of climatologists blame carbon emissions for recent climate change”, that would be much more powerful than simply invoking the word “consensus”. It is hard to believe that one can expect to get effective political action on global warming without really convincing the public of the scientific agreement.

    I’m not suggesting such a survey would be easy to design or perform, much to the contrary actually, but I beleive it would be a useful exercise if done well.

  33. EricM:

    The problem with a survey concerning “consensus” on a technically and politically complicated issue such as global climate change is the definition of “consensus”, and the linkage drawn (or not drawn) between individual components of the consensus. An interesting, and I think meaningful investigation/survey of the scientific community would be a statistical analysis of each of what I see as the five major interlinked assumptions built into the Climate Change “consensus” discussion. The big five assumptions being:
    1. Global warming is currently occuring. (probably near 100% agreement)
    2. Antropogenic carbon dioxide a primary contributor. (percentage agreement will drop some)
    3. A serious problem exists right now. (percentage drops again, maybe significantly)
    4. If we don’t do anything, it will be a crisis in the near future. (percentage agreement might go up or down here)
    5. We need to do something, anything, right now. (Lose lots of folks on this one.)

    Even though most would agree warming is occuring, I think few are of the opinion that we are in a crisis. So… what is the definition of consensus?

  34. sidd:

    i think we are wasting time chasing down and refuting specious arguments against co2 induced climate change. i would much rather discuss and learn about cloud models, ocean circulation, ice sheet stability than repeatedly counter ignorant arguments by innumerate dunces.

    as was said at the ruin of constantinople: ‘the hour is late, the need is pressing.’ we have little time and the children have less.

    sidd

  35. petefontana:

    Sorry, if this strays a bit from the survey topic. (I didn’t get to vote, but of course it’s a very serious problem.)

    William Connolley’s excellent site presents several interesting issues related to climate modeling.

    First, the “entrainment coefficient” seems quite important. Can anyone explain why it matters so much to the climate and climate models?
    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/104/30/12259?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Association+of+parameter%2C+software+and+hardware+variation+with+large+scale&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

    Entrainment also seems to be only partially understood.
    http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0477/84/5/pdf/i1520-0477-84-5-579.pdf

    If someone thinks up a model improvement for entrainment or something else, what happens next?

    How do you check the validity of your existing models, while also constantly making changes to them?

    In other words, if a model is changed, does that mean it has had a very short period of time over which to compare projected results with actually observed results?

  36. George:

    David – if you really thought this item was barely worthy of your time why would you toss it out as a scrap to the legions of RealClimate posters. Admittedly many of them may not have time management issues, but why not provide something substantial for that group to toss around. You correctly characterized the survey results as “garbage” so I can’t see the reason for wanting to start a serious discussion on it. Or at least admit that you would like to see people spend some time denigrating Milloy’s work.
    Okay, back to work for me too!

    [Response: Thought it was worth writing what I wrote. Didn’t think it was worth writing any more. David]

  37. Guy:

    #32 – what Robert says makes sense to me as a layman. Could RealClimate get something moving with something like this?

    Or would that be seen as partisan? Perhaps that thought exposes the problem. RealClimate has a reputation for being “pro-the-consensus”. This is broadly true, because in a gloriously circular argument it is made up of jobbing climate scientists, and that is what THEY think – based on the scientific data that they work with. But I’ve been in arguments with people who dismiss RealClimate as a partisan lobby-type group (or “they only say that because the funding for their jobs depends on it”). In the end, people just believe what they want to believe, I suspect – maybe no survey will change that. Look at ID.

  38. Florifulgurator:

    Re 30. try this: http://www.google.fi/search?hl=en&q=realclimate.org

  39. Charles Muller:

    Beyond generalities (like anthropogenic GHGs influence climate), I think every one can find a lack of consensus within IPCC work. For example, a look at table 8.2 shows that equilbrium climate sensitivity 2xCO2 is 2,1°C for PCM or INM-CM3.0 and 4,4°C for IPSL-CM4 or UKMO-HadGEM1. For the same 550 ppmv CO2 atm., the consequences would be quite different, no ?

    This is true for many other domains (e.g. hard to say there’s presently a consensus on expected sea-level rise for 2100). When you speak of the lack of consensus, you’ve usually in mind the skeptical critic of IPCC. But I think there’s now an “alarmist” critic of IPCC too.

    Anyway, I agree with David that the survey is totally uninteresting (because of the poor quality of questions and the weak quantity of answers). And with Robert (#32) that a well constructed and diffused survey would be far more instructive.

    As it is explained in the “Notes for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report on Addressing Uncertainties” : Likelihood may be based on quantitative analysis or an elicitation of expert views. So, the famous “likely”, “very likely”, etc. statements do not depend exclusively of quantitative analysis. It would be useful to have a better quantification of “the “elicitation of expert views” – not only better, but also independant from the IPCC process.

  40. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Mark posts:

    [[what is the scientific basis for the “radiative forcing” units? How are these measurements determined?]]

    Radiative forcing is measured in watts per square meter. The Earth system absorbs about 237 watts per square meter from the Sun, on average. But the surface, at 288 K, radiates about 390 watts per square meter. The difference, 153 watts per square meter, is the “greenhouse forcing.” It is estimated that doubling CO2 will cause the difference to widen by 3.7 watts per square meter, enough to raise the Earth’s mean surface temperature about 2.8 degrees K. given all the known feedbacks.

  41. Jim Cripwell:

    I have no idea whether Gavin will accept the thoughts of an outright denier/skeptic, but here goes. So far as I am concerned, discussing whether or not there is a scientific consensus, is reminiscent of discussions as to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Science does not depend on opinion. Rather, in an oversimplified way, it depends on whether we have an idea as to what the cause is, and have data which supports this idea. At present, there are two rival ideas, and not enough data to demonstrate which side is right.
    On this point, it may be of interest to say a little about some recent data. The Arctic Ocean and northern waters had the minimum amount of ice in recent times this September, as was discussed recently on RC. There was over 1 million sq kms less ice than had previously been measured. The claim was made that this was due to AGW. Now, early in November, there is almost as much ice this year, as there was on the same date last year. This year, there is less ice in the Alaska/Siberia part of northern waters, and more ice in the Canadian/Greenland part, compared with 2006. Does this tell us anything about what conditions will be like in September 2008? Almost certainly not, but stay tuned!

  42. Keith:

    Ah the power of stats. Personally I think it’s all nonsense. You simply cannot construct a non-biased survey of any group. Simply not possible. So I think we can quite simply ignore this trash. However, as a physical scientist working in the biological arena I would like to strongly disput the suggestion above from Roger William Chamberlin that our planet is in some way dying. Total nonsense. It is simply changing as a result of a combination of forcings, some natural, some man-made. It’s called evolution and it is staggeringly poweful. Selective pressure of biospheres is rapid and often quite unpredictable. At a molecular level it’s quite extraordinary to observe (which is what I currently work on) and at a macro level it’s no different. What we should be saying is that we’re currently putting an enormous selective pressure on the biosphere and as a result changes are going to be dramatic and significant. Sure, man and a whole host of other species may die, but they will certainly be replaced by other species more easily able to adapt. So perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the CURRENT biopshere is dying but will be replaced with a new one. Evoloution tends to be pretty brutal so all bets are off on what’s going to adapt and how. But you can be sure that every single piece of evolutionary space will get filled. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if evolution has a bigger role to play in the story of global warming than has been suggested. A staggeringly powerful process.

  43. Boris:

    “Present tense verbs imply ongoing climate change.”

    His little lie doesn’t even makes sense. So a question like:

    Which best describe(s) the reason for the Third Reich’s rise to power?

    only applies to a current rise of the Third Reich? He’s as bad at grammar as he as at science.

  44. Ray Ladbury:

    Charles Muller and Jim Cripwell,
    I would contend that you have a misconception of what is meant by scientific consensus. It has nothing to do with “opinion” and little to do with particular values for parameters in models. It has to do with evidence and the support that evidence provides for particular models or conclusions. This is why a survey or a debate is meaningless–it doesn’t change the evidence, but merely provides a snapshot of researchers perceptions of the evidence.
    Charles, you are looking at point values without looking at overlaps in the confidence intervals–the generally accepted value of 3 K per doubling is in this overlap, so that is the consensus value. Now the consequences of a 2.1 or 4.4 K per doubling might be quite different–or if our own forcing kickstarts the positive feedbacks in the system, it might be irrelevant. I strongly urge you to look into the concept of scientific consensus–it is quite subtle and very powerful, and all science is based on it to some degree.
    Keith says “You simply cannot construct a non-biased survey of any group. Simply not possible.”
    Horsecrap, I reply. The fact that there are dishonest researchers out ther who will misuse statistics does not invalidate their use as a valid research tool. Good surveys are hard to carry out, but when they are good, they be extremely valuable. Any fool can lie with statistics; what takes skill is using statistics to arrive at and illustrate the truth.

  45. Ben:

    Re #42: You’re absolutely right that there will be a biosphere long after we’re gone, Keith. The thing is, I think most of us are kind of attached to the idea of the human species lasting for several more generations…

  46. Michael Tobis:

    Unfortunately these results are is being run by Forbes as a real news story.

    My own deconstruction of the survey is here, with some commentary about its source.

    The claim by Milloy’s organization that it is “more worried about the intellectual climate” is a remarkable example of brazenness.

  47. George Robinson:

    We all know, well I hope we all know that the Norwegians, being the “owners” of Spitzbergen study the climate up there all the year round, and the Danes, also the owners of Greenland also study all the year round. Both these countries have some very interesting websites where they publish results that are really outstanding, and terrifying at the same time. The melting of the Greenland icecap is accelerating at an alarming rate, about 500 billion tons at the last measurement. This is enough to cover the British Isles with a 2 km thick ice sheet, every year. South of Spitzbergen, the oceans have been ice free the past 2 winters, reason being, the warm waters from the Gulf Stream are travelling further north, and closer to the ocean surface, only 25 meters at the last measurement, The ocean temperature has been +2C instead of -2C.

  48. Keith:

    Yes Ben, I kinda hope that we’d be around for a while, but evolution tends not to be that sympathetic unfortunately.

  49. Nick Barnes:

    Jim Cripwell @ 41: the experts were expecting arctic sea ice to bounce back during the freeze season this year, and it has turned out exactly according to that expectation.
    I had a longer comment, but the RC software is refusing it.

  50. Nick Barnes:

    George Robinson @ 47:

    Both these countries have some very interesting websites

    I am sure that they do. Please provide links.

    The melting of the Greenland icecap is accelerating at an alarming rate, about 500 billion tons at the last measurement. This is enough to cover the British Isles with a 2 km thick ice sheet, every year.

    This is very confusing. 500 billion tons of what? Ice loss per year? That sounds like a lot but is in fact only about 550 cubic kilometres.
    For reference, the British Isles covers 315134 square kilometres. Covering it in ice 2km thick would require about 600 trillion tons of ice. It looks as if you’re out by a factor of around a thousand.

  51. Lawrence Brown:

    Re Numbers 32 and 39. There was a survey done in 2004 and it was established then, three years ago, that a consensus exists- it hasn’t gone away. How often does a consensus have to be proven before it’s accepted? I cited a study by Naomi Oreskes in the ‘unsinkable’ post and it’s repeated below:

    Naomi Oreskes did a study which many of you are aware of and she found the following:
    [A 2004 article by geologist and historian of science Naomi Oreskes summarized a study of the scientific literature on climate change.[29] The essay concluded that THERE IS A SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS (emphasis mine) on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. The author analyzed 928 abstracts of papers from refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, listed with the keywords “global climate change”. Oreskes divided the abstracts into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. 75% of the abstracts were placed in the first three categories, thus either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, thus taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change; none of the abstracts disagreed with the consensus position, which the author found to be “remarkable”. According to the report, “authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.”]
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    These efforts by Milloy and others are a desperate attempt to blow smoke and mirrors to obfuscate and dispel the reality that a consensus has existed for years!

  52. Philippe Chantreau:

    Keith, I really like our current biosphere. Not quite as good as a few thousand years ago, but still rich and varied. I’m not excited at the prospect of megafauna and extraordinary birds being replaced by arthropods or whatever. Especially if it is a consequence of our activities and those are focused on consumption for its own sake. Reading through a recent blurb on msn about a surfer attacked by a shark and saved by dolphins, methinks a world with both sharks and dolphins is a pretty cool place. Should any major change implying drastically less diversity and abundance be welcome by us? If there is any chance we can slow or prevent that change, should we not try?
    Even a massive impact or an all-out nuclear war will not entirely extinguish life, but, still, it would suck.

  53. Nick Barnes:

    Jim Cripwell @ 41: Regarding the expected re-freeze of arctic sea ice, I had an email discussion with Bill Chapman at Cryosphere Today in mid-October (when the arctic sea ice anomaly was at a record level, nearly 3 million square kilometres), and reported the essence of it here (see the comment thread on the “Sweatin’ the Mediterranean Heat” article).

    There is still today an arctic sea ice area anomaly – a departure from the 1979-2000 average – of 1.6 million square kilometres. This is declining rapidly.

    2007 was a record-breaking year for arctic sea ice. 2005 was also record-breaking, and although 2006 was low it was not as low as 2005. In the same way, 2008 might not be as low as 2007 (the record low in 2007 was partly due to an unusual weather system). This sort of variation is weather, not climate. But the long-term pattern seen in, for instance, “The Tale of the Tape” at CT, is climate not weather.

    What’s your expectation for the 2008 minimum arctic sea ice area? Above or below the 1979-2000 average? By how much? Are you a betting man?

    [I’ve edited this comment down considerably, in an attempt to post successfully]

  54. FP:

    It is not people like you that the skeptics are trying to fool…

    You need catch phrases and rhimes to get through to this crowd. Keep it short or you will lose their attention..

  55. dhogaza:

    Jim Cripwell claims:

    Now, early in November, there is almost as much ice this year, as there was on the same date last year.

    Well, no, there’s not. If you think hard, I bet you can figure out why yourself.

  56. SecularAnimist:

    Jim Cripwell wrote: “At present, there are two rival ideas, and not enough data to demonstrate which side is right.”

    That is just plain false. There is overwhelming data to demonstrate that human activities, principally the burning of fossil fuels, are releasing large quantities of CO2 and other “greenhouse gases”, which is increasing the concentration of these gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, which is causing the Earth to retain more of the Sun’s heat, which is causing the Earth to warm, which is causing changes to the Earth’s climate and biosphere which present a grave danger to the well-being of human beings and all other life on Earth, particularly if we continue burning fossil fuels much longer.

    On the other hand, there is no data to support the “rival” view that the above is not happening.

  57. Jim Cripwell:

    Ref 44. Ray writes “I would contend that you have a misconception of what is meant by scientific consensus. It has nothing to do with “opinion” and little to do with particular values for parameters in models. It has to do with evidence and the support that evidence provides for particular models or conclusion.”
    I am afraid, Ray, that you have lost me. Let us take specific, say IPCC AR4 to WG1. This peer reviewed paper has been published; some of us agree with it’s conclusions, some of us don’t. We can carry out a scienific discussion in appropiate fora, and try to decide who is right. The current situation is a stand-off and there is no scientific supreme court to rule. That job is, was, and always will be, done by the hard, measured, independently replicated, experimental data; which is not yet conclusive.
    What good does it do if 1000, 10,000, or 100,000 scientists say there is a consensus that AR4 is scientifically accurate? So far as I can see, it does not change the science one iota.

  58. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[Even though most would agree warming is occuring, I think few are of the opinion that we are in a crisis.]]

    You think wrong.

  59. Matt Prescott:

    Have you seen this:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,309919,00.html

  60. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim, exactly what is the “rival idea” to anthropogenic causation. I’d really like to know, because I haven’t heard one. The IPCC reflects consensus. It does not manufacture it. Another reflection: how many climate experts are publishing “rival ideas” in peer-reviewed scientific journals? Among climate scientists, even the “skeptics” believe that anthropogenic ghg are contributing to climate change.
    That is as good a definition of consensus as any: when your opponents stop publishing alternatives. We’re there.

  61. Richard Ordway:

    Wikipedia:

    “With the release of the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, no scientific bodies of national or international standing are known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

  62. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #33 (& #58) & “5. We need to do something, anything, right now. (Lose lots of folks on this one.)
    Even though most would agree warming is occuring, I think few are of the opinion that we are in a crisis.”

    Again there is a time issue here. Right now there are bad things happening that could be linked to GW, but we have not at all seen the worst yet, so we are not experiencing really great crises right now.

    However if we do not act now (& perferrably starting last decade :) ) to drastically reduce our GHGs, we could very well be ensuring a serious crisis or cataclysmic events (which would happen in the future, some in the far far future…like the possibility of massive hydrogen sulfide outgassing killing off most of life on earth…what’s remaining of life on earth after all the other GW effects have pretty much done us in). So, technically the big crisis is not upon us yet, but there is terrific urgency to act right now (as if some monster or hurricane were bearing down on us), so as to better ensure the catastrophe won’t happen or will be a fairly mild catastrophe.

    I think this is the most difficult idea to get across to people. Those in the know I’d guess are pretty much quaking in their boots (now) at the extreme sluggishness of people’s response to this problem.

  63. Hank Roberts:

    >Arctic sea ice

    Look up: multi-year

    Example of the sort of information needed to assess year to year sea ice amount as it does change, not “the answer” just a suggestion for further reading:

    ftp://ftp.ifremer.fr/ifremer/cersat/documentation/presentations/2002/aosb-04-2002.pdf
    —–excerpt—–
    The sudden increase of the MY ice area maximum at the beginning of winter 1996-1997, by almost 10 6km², compensates the decrease observed during the periods 1991-1996 and 1997-2001. It so happens that, globally, the MY ice area at the beginning of winter 1991 is almost identical to that of the beginning of winter 2001. A likely explanation for this sudden increase might be the occurrence of a cyclonic wind circulation in late spring-beginning of summer 1996 (figure 3) which inhibits and reverses the anti-cyclonic ice circulation, strongly reducing the MY sea ice export, in summer, through Fram Strait and resulting in sea ice accumulation in the Arctic basin (Proshutinsky and Johnson, 1997). Although less pronounced, a similar MY ice area increase occurred for winter 1992-1993. According to Proshutinsky and Johnson, 1997, a typical sea ice cyclonic circulation occurred during summer 1992 (see their figures 17a to 17d).
    ——–end excerpt, see original for figures———

  64. Martin Vermeer:

    Re #11, you call that “voting”? come on…

    I have to think of Einstein, who, when he was told that one hundred German physicists had signed a petition denouncing relativity theory as “degenerate, Jewish physics”, remarked dryly that one physicist with a valid argument would have been worth listening to…

  65. Bob Clipperton (UK):

    Re: post # 17 by NielT who says:-

    I have a friend who is well educated and very aware who does not deny the changes are happening, just why.
    He said to me last week “I would be more inclined to believe that we are doing this if the Governments didn’t try and use it for tax raising agendas, rather than to fix the probem”. ……
    What I find more distressing is the complete inability of the scientific community (and the press) to tell the situation the way that people will understand.

    I’ve no idea where NielT hails from but this is, in my opinion, a widespread view held in the UK. Successive governments have piled on our taxes and even just prior to publication of the Stern report, the Govt. minister exacerbated the view by saying ‘taxation must play a part in solving the GW problem’.

    Some of our erstwhile serious newspapers are also adding to the confusion by publishing conflicting articles, (equally weighted to both sides), but not then allowing pertinent criticism in letters. They are obviously taking the line that ‘controversy sells’. For example, most recently the Sunday Telegraph published an article by Messrs C. Booker & R. North – raising all the recent anti-AGW myths. When I say that the 2 gentlemen are well known anti-EU campaigners and are probably trying to imply that GW is an EU plot to subjugate & tax the masses, and lo & behold they are publishing a book on GW, through the Telegraph you will see the sense of frustration many of us pro-AGW believers have. (You may laugh or even smile but this is truly the stuff some of the media is throwing at us regularly). Not a whiff of true science in miles!
    I won’t bore you with others but I do think the layman is deliberately being misinformed on the science of GW. The sceptics are deliberately confusing the science of GW with scare politics in the lay-persons mind.

    Oh how I wish I could persuade a TV production company to do a ‘factual’ series on the science of GW – unlike TGGWS. I’d even do it for expenses only!

  66. Richard Ordway:

    re. #34 sidd Says: “as was said at the ruin of constantinople: ‘the hour is late, the need is pressing.’ we have little time and the children have less.”

    Errr, a little more positive note is from what the British ambassador reportedly said to his wife in 1940 after a comment the German ambassador made to him about England’s seemingly hopeless situtation during early World War 2: “You are helpless, you have no army, your prime minister is talking about fighting with liquid courage and we can crush you at any time.”

    The British ambassador later said to his wife, “He’s right. We are not ready. We are playing for time…and time is running out!”

    But, the Brits did not give up even when in a nearly hopeless situation against near overwhelming odds…and won anyway.

  67. Aaron Lewis:

    RE 62
    The word crisis is over used, and has lost its impact. Catastrophe is too long and does not have good old fashioned Anglo-Saxon impact. We need some better words.

    Perhaps we could say that, “Significant numbers of extant humans are irrationally exuberant regarding the current state of atmospheric composition; while astute individuals have recognized future non-linear behaviors in environmental parameters that exceed even the most aggressive discounting conventions.”

    Or, as the old Frenchman said, “ We are in the soup.”

    One problem is scientific reticence. A while back, science stepped forward to help solve societie’s problems. Now, science seems to be less involved. Scientists want to do “science” rather than to get involved in the messy process of helping society, “Figure out what to do.” Worse, our “leaders” seem to have less and less background in science.
    Without science and technology, nothing in our modern society functions. Some of that technology is very fragile.

  68. Julia R:

    Yes, it is a bogus survey, but interestingly, if you look at the actual survey results, they don’t support his summary statements well at all.

    NeilT in #17 said

    What I find more distressing is the complete inability of the scientific community (and the press) to tell the situation the way that people will understand.

    The problem is that most of the public actually doesn’t understand that this is a complicated system in the way that climate scientists and anyone reading this blog does. Many of the responses given were a reflection of the complexity of feedbacks, ambiguity of tense and what time frame we’re talking about, and subjective questions about “ideal climate.” These are distinctions and ambiguities easily identified by the scientists who appropriately provide qualified answers. But this is lost on the average person on the street. Frankly I’m surprised he didn’t pick out the 17% saying manmade CO2 was the principal driver.

    So this is the communication problem – how to communicate accurately but not have the appropriately qualified answers be spun and misrepresented. I suppose that’s a fundamental problem when one faction is trying to interpret the data with honesty and reason and another faction is cynically manipulating the data. They don’t have to worry about accuracy.

    One of the points made when the last IPCC summary was released was the fact that “95%” means it is an almost certainty. To most people, without that kind of explanation, they would take that to mean, “oh, there’s some doubt.” But only when you explain that 100% certainty is only given to events that have actually occurred, do they get it.

  69. George Darroch:

    Apologies if it’s already been posted, but this really does deserve a mention in a thread about skeptics

    Hoax bacteria study tricks climate skeptics:

    OSLO (Reuters) – A hoax scientific study pointing to ocean bacteria as the overwhelming cause of global warming fooled some skeptics on Thursday who doubt growing evidence that human activities are to blame.

    Laden with scientific jargon and published online in the previously unknown “Journal of Geoclimatic Studies” based in Japan, the report suggested the findings could be “the death of manmade global warming theory.”

    Skeptics jumped on the report. A British scientist e-mailed the report to 2,000 colleagues before spotting it was a spoof. Another from the U.S. called it a “blockbuster.”

    Blogger skeptic Neil Craig wrote: “This could not be more damaging to manmade global warming theory … I somehow doubt if this is going to be on the BBC news.”

    It was not clear who was behind the report, which said bacteria in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans emitted at least 300 times more carbon dioxide than industrial activity — a finding that, if true, would overturn the widely held view of scientists that burning fossil fuels are the main cause of warming.

    But scientists knocked the report down.

    “The whole story is a hoax,” Deliang Chen, professor of Meteorology at Gothenburg University in Sweden, told Reuters. He said two “authors” listed as from his University were unknown.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKL0887458220071108

    The comment of the ‘Journal’ was also priceless in setting up this hoax

    “We have also taken the unprecedented step of making the paper freely available on our website: something we have been reluctant to do in the past because of our severe budgetary constraints. We hope that even if the paper is dismissed and ignored by those who subscribe to the “consensus” position on climate change, the truth will eventually seep out. We accept that this is not the best route for scientific discourse to take, but none better appears to be available. We publish in trepidation, but in the knowledge that it is the right thing to do.”

  70. Charles Muller:

    #44 I guess each model gave to IPCC its own “best estimate” from its own PDF (and models are equiprobable). I don’t know from which precise quantitative analysis IPPC authors deduced the best estimate of 3K for 2xCO2 (if you’ve the information, I’m interested ; if not, I would suppose it’s an “elicitation of expert views”, that is… a micro-survey on the most interesting papers in the rich litterature on CS). Anyway, papers like Knight et al. 2007 (quoted above) or Roe & Baker 2007 (commented on RC) suggest that narrowing the range of CS to a central “best estimate” is not really a meaningful exercise (but see James Annan blog for another point of view). As CS best estimate has evolved from AR2 to AR3, and AR3 to AR4, I wait for AR5, AR6, AR7…

    #51 I don’t think the definition of consensus by Oreskes 2004 was itself clear. As an example, look at : Signature of recent climate change in frequencies of natural atmospheric circulation regimes, S. CORTI, F. MOLTENI et T. N. PALMER, Nature 398, 799 – 802 (29 April 1999); doi:10.1038/19745
    For Naomi Oreskes, it should be counted as a “consensus” article. In my opinion, no (a paper whose main conclusion is that 1978-98 warming trend in NH can be interpreted as a change in natural variability is not really a support for the supposed consensus statement of IPCC 2001, and not for IPPC 2007 of course). But these questions of “consensus” are not so interesting. Models presently conclude that recent warming has probably a dominant anthropogenic origin. OK, wonderful, now let’s refine the numerous domains where models robustness and convergence are so weak.

    [Response: Your reading of Corti et al is incorrect. Their study indicated that forced responses could exhibit themselves as changes in the natural modes of variability – i.e. global warming could show up as a switch towards more +ve NAO or ENSO for instance. It is not stating that everything seen so far is natural variability. Your mistake shows up exactly how tricky it is for outsiders to judge a paper from it’s abstract. Oreskes did very well in that regard. – gavin]

  71. ICE:

    # 70 and reply by gavin

    a new paper by Yiou, Vautard et al. in GRL revisits the assumption of corti et al. in 99, and shows that “These observational results suggest that the main drivers of recent European warming are not changes in regional atmospheric flow and weather regimes frequencies, contrasting with observed changes before 1994. ”
    (just said this because i’m reading it right now..)

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007GL031981.shtml

  72. Guy:

    #51 – of course you are quite correct regarding the meta-analysis study, and I was aware of it. I guess you hit the nail on the head – that was 2004, and still around half the populous don’t believe it. Hence the thinking that perhaps something else to fill newspapers might help. On reflection, the 2004 study is clearly more authoratitive than a poll of opinions of climate scientists (being based entirely on peer-reviewed science), so perhaps there just needs to be a revision of that study on more recent papers to ram the point home. It might well get more press now – this stuff wasn’t so well reported way back then in the dark ages of, er, 2004…

  73. Ray Ladbury:

    Re 61. Richard Ordway–good point. Positions taken by professional societies represent a good measure of consensus. With the shift to waffledom by the AAPG, there are now no denialist professional societies.

    Charles Muller, Your read on Oreskes and on Corti et al. suggests you are seeing what you want to see. Remember, it is GLOBAL warming.

  74. Jim Galasyn:

    Fwiw, in the 2000 SCOPE survey of 200 scientists, climate change easily emerged as the top-scoring concern:

    http://unep.org/geo/geo2000/ov-e/0011.htm

  75. Jim Eager:

    Re Jim Galasyn: “Fwiw, in the 2000 SCOPE survey of 200 scientists, climate change easily emerged as the top-scoring concern”

    Not to mention that 26 of the other issues listed are directly or indirectly related, caused in part by, or exacerbated by climate change.

  76. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    I was just thinking, what really matters is not so much the concensus, but the reality of what’s happening and what can happen.

    The scientists are sort of like glasses for us near-sighted laypersons. But even with these glasses we don’t see perfectly. It’s the underlying reality that’s important. And since we know this has happened in the past and up to 95% of life on earth died one time & it happed without scientists present or consensus (but we can now see that through our rearview mirror – the paleoclimatologists), the very prudent thing is not to play with matches after spilling a lot of gas all over the floor.

  77. Timothy Chase:

    In the “Find the error” thread which was appropriately closed at the appropriate time — and in the appropriate way, there nevertheless was another topic which might deserve a little more discussion — regarding the Rush Limbaugh buying into the benthic bacteria being responsible rising levels of carbon dioxide…

    Jim Galasyn quoted Roy Spencer as responding:

    Several of us (scientists and non-scientists alike) were able, within a matter of seconds to minutes, to identify the paper as a fake. We then spread the word, warning others of the hoax. Therefore, we showed that we do not, as the hoaxer claims, “believe almost anything if it lends support to their position”. We did exactly the opposite. … I would say that not only did the hoaxer’s attempt fail, he would do well to be a little more discerning about scientific claims from politicians and actors.

    Then Jim Galasyn (Find the Error, #12) wrote:

    Perhaps, but has Rush publicly disavowed the hoax?

    Also, it should be fun to see how many times this “study” is cited by denialists in future.

    Spencer could smell the hoax. It would have been hard for anyone with a passing familiarity with the ocean chemistry, benthic bacteria or CO2 levels and emissions not to.

    But how many others? And why did they think it necessary to “spread the word” — unless they were just as convinced as the hoaxster that there would be those, some prominent, who would buy into it?

    More importantly, there is fiction which is just as far removed from reality, “alternate” explanations in terms of cosmic rays, denials of the ability of greenhouse gases to absorb and emit radiation, greenhouse gases rising up so quickly that they emit their radiation into space before it has a chance to warm the earth’s surface, claims that volcanoes are emitting more carbon dioxide than we are, faked-up charts and the like — which people such as Spencer don’t find it necessary to expose. Instead they will simply let those on “their side” believe whatever they want to believe so long as everybody agrees that there isn’t anything which needs to be done about greenhouse gas emissions.

    Why is this?

    The real problem for the “skeptics” in running with this story (and the reason why Spencer found it necessary to cry “Hoax!”) is that it hadn’t originated someone who would actually stand by the story, but like the Sokal incident in which a deconstructionist journal published a hoax-gibberish paper on theoretical physics, a hoaxster who would come forward and expose the gullibility of those who bought into it. The tip-off in this case was the non-existent journal.

    Incidentally, Roy Spencer would probably be familiar with the Sokal hoax – simply given his association with the intelligent design movement. There was a memorable, humorous piece making the rounds a while back that “claimed” Ann Coulter’s attack on evolutionary biology in “Godless” was a Sokal-type hoax. It originally appeared in Skeptical Inquirer, Volume 31, Issue 2 (March/April 2007), but can be found on the web.

    Here is a link:

    The Coulter Hoax
    How Ann Coulter Exposed the Intelligent Design Movement
    By Peter Olofsson
    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/CoulterHoax.cfm

    I should note, however, that I have no reason to believe that Spencer actually subscribes to Skeptical Inquirer. None whatsoever.

  78. Timothy Chase:

    In the inline to #70, Gavin wrote regarding Corti (1999):

    Their study indicated that forced responses could exhibit themselves as changes in the natural modes of variability – i.e. global warming could show up as a switch towards more +ve NAO or ENSO for instance. It is not stating that everything seen so far is natural variability.

    Judging from the abstract, it looks like an interesting paper:

    A crucial question in the global-warming debate concerns the extent to which recent climate change is caused by anthropogenic forcing or is a manifestation of natural climate variability. It is commonly thought that the climate response to anthropogenic forcing should be distinct from the patterns of natural climate variability. But, on the basis of studies of nonlinear chaotic models with preferred states or ‘regimes’, it has been argued, that the spatial patterns of the response to anthropogenic forcing may in fact project principally onto modes of natural climate variability. Here we use atmospheric circulation data from the Northern Hemisphere to show that recent climate change can be interpreted in terms of changes in the frequency of occurrence of natural atmospheric circulation regimes. We conclude that recent Northern Hemisphere warming may be more directly related to the thermal structure of these circulation regimes than to any anthropogenic forcing pattern itself. Conversely, the fact that observed climate change projects onto natural patterns cannot be used as evidence of no anthropogenic effect on climate. These results may help explain possible differences between trends in surface temperature and satellite-based temperature in the free atmosphere.

    Signature of recent climate change in frequencies of natural atmospheric circulation regimes
    S. Corti, F. Molteni, and T. N. Palmer
    Nature 398, 799-802 (29 April 1999)
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v398/n6730/abs/398799a0.html

    This article was written prior to our discovery that the sensors were wearing out in satellites, leading to a substantially “smaller” warming trend as measured by satellites. As such, a little dated. But the central idea is quite important. Just because the drying out of Turkey (for example) is due to the North Atlantic Oscillation – natural variation – being more or less locked into its positive phase doesn’t mean that it isn’t due to higher levels of CO2 – anthropogenic forcing. See Sweatin the Mediteranean Heat. Something to keep in mind for the purpose of understanding of course, but also for the purpose of debate since intentionally or not, skeptics will make this mistake from time to time when arguing against anthropogenic global warming.

  79. Timothy Chase:

    On why the hoax of CO2-belching benthic bacteria was perpetrated (hat-tip to George Darroch’s 69)…

    Its purpose was to expose the credulity and scientific illiteracy of many of the people who call themselves climate sceptics. While dismissive of the work of the great majority of climate scientists, they will believe almost anything if it lends support to their position. Their approach to climate science is the opposite of scepticism.

    INTERVIEW: author of spoof paper speaks – November 09, 2007
    http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2007/11/interview_author_of_spoof_pape.html

  80. Charles Muller:

    #70 Gavin Comment

    Corti et al. 1999 first show that geographical distribution of observed climate change correlates well with patterns of natural variability, and then operate a cluster analysis for two periods 1949-71 and 1971-94. But their paper is unconclusive on the precise point of anthopogenic forcing influece (“we do not have a satisfactory understanding of these regime instabilities, and how anomalous radiative forcing projects on the sensitivity patterns”), so the reader may difficultly conclude that we’ve here the “proof” of an anthropogenic influence on AO,NAO, ENSO, PDO and other natural “Lorenz-attractors” of climate. The conservative conclusion is that patterns of second half XXth century warming and patterns of intrinsic variablity are coherent, and that intrinsic variability may be a sufficient explanation for observed warming (until a probabilistic analysis shows that these patterns significantly diverge from their natural range, but this would suppose we’re able to constrain this range, a quite optimistic horizon for Lorenz attractors).

    But I agree, Corti 1999 is not really pertinent for or against the consensus.

    In Oreskes 2004, the choose of the expression “climate change” in abstract is arbitrary. Just an example of a paper published in the 1933-2003 period and in a peer-reviewed publication :
    Lindzen (1997) Can increasing atmospheric CO2 affect global climate? Proc. Natl..Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 8335-8342.
    As Lindzen concludes to a CS of 0,3-0,5°C for doubling CO2, it’s hard to say this paper supports the consensus for a recent and significant warming due to human CO2.

    (The same is true for many other Linden papers published between 1993 and 2003, of course. And for many other papers as well, either they do not include the expression “climate change” in abstract or they do not adress directly the “consensus”, but their conclusions suggest other mechanisms that anthropogenic CO2 – direct and indrect effect of solar forcing for example).

    So, I persist and sign : the “Big Sister” Oreskes conclusion (100% of scientific papers agree with IPCC) is a rhetorical / methodological artifact rather than an objective assessment on climate sciences.

    [Response: Oreskes was very clear she was sampling the literature and not stating that no papers existed which questioned the consensus. However, if questioning the consensus was very wide spread, then the sample would have likely contained some examples. It did not, giving rise quite naturally to the conclusion that any questioning of the consensus is a minority occupation at best – therefore it is, in fact, a consensus. Your paraphrase of Oreskes’ conclusion is not to be found in her work – you should instead read her paper. – gavin]

  81. Jim Galasyn:

    Re the Best Science Blog vote, Bad Astronomy and Climate Audit tied for first place:

    http://2007.weblogawards.org/polls/best-science-blog-1.php

    Who would have predicted that result?

  82. Timothy Chase:

    I looked up Roy Spencer’s statement on the CO2-belching benthic bacteria hoax at his website – found it – and found the following…

    How Could So Many Climate Modelers Be So Wrong?

    This is a question that fascinates me, not just from a science perspective, but a sociological perspective as well. I thought it might be good to address this question first: …

    2. The most important example of this lack of understanding is, in my view, how precipitation systems control the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect, over 90% fo which is due to water vapor and clouds. The Earth’s total greenhouse effect is not some passive quantity that can be easily modified by mankind adding a little carbon dioxide — it is instead constantly being limited by precipitation systems, which remove water vapor and adjust cloud amounts to keep the total greenhouse effect consistent with the amount of available sunlight. Our understanding of this limiting process is still immature, and therefore not contained in the models.

    Global Warming and Nature’s Thermostat:
    Precipitation Systems
    by Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.
    http://www.weatherquestions.com/Roy-Spencer-on-global-warming.htm

    Of course rain isn’t taking the excess CO2 out of the atmosphere.

    And why would the precipitation system try “… to keep the total greenhouse effect consistent with the amount of available sunlight”? More than a hint of the teleological fallacy here.

    It would seem to have a basis in his own peculiar religious beliefs: we don’t know, we don’t understand, but we can apparently believe that it does so for our benefit without such understanding. Incidentally, it may worthwhile for some to contrast his views against those of many other evangelicals. For example, see: Evangelical Leaders Join Global Warming Initiative, NYT Feb 8, 2006.

    In terms of water vapor feedback, what is the difference between forcing due to increased levels of solar radiation and increased levels of carbon dioxide raising the level of longwave radiation reaching the surface? Nothing is suggested — and at least at the superficial level of his analysis, there is no reason to think that there will be any difference. But of course at some level he no doubt can see as much.

  83. Richard Ordway:

    Lynn wrote: “The scientists are sort of like glasses for us near-sighted laypersons.”

    Here is my analogy from a perspective of someone living it, breathing it and sleeping it for over 11 years and being surrounded by publishing peer-review scientists and being challenged on published science almost on a daily basis by the public and exterior visiting non-peer-reviewed “scientists”:

    My analogy is that mainstream scientists (not the fringe groups who can often say whatever they want without consequences)…is that mainstream scientists are the scouts for humanity.

    Image that humanity is an army lead by generals. They need eyes to keep out of ambushes ahead which they can’t see and can’t commit their massive slow moving forces to easily.

    These scouts (mainstream scientists) have on the whole saved the army’s bacon quite a few times by reporting dangerous situations… ie. the ozone hole (a real biggie), acid rain, pollution, SARS and now global warming.

    The scouts use probability so that the generals can get a sense of the danger…ie. the Y2K risk without preparations was perhaps 25% (but a lot was done to stop it), bird flu risk as published is probably only 15% risk a year at most. A dangerous asteroid hitting us any year is pretty low too, but eventually inevitable. The ozone hole risk was however listed at 95% probability. Global warming is listed at a 95% probability.

    Now, a general is pretty stupid if he ignores these percentage warnings in the world-wide juried, peer-reviewed scientific literarature body-of-evidence built up and staying solid over many years…perhaps even suicidal and certainly incompetent.

    He is even stupider, if he (or she) now gags his scouts, and ties them up because of what they report.

  84. Russell Seitz:

    re 77.

    Given that Limbaugh refused to believe that the bogus J.Geoclim.Stud. text was _not_ a real science journal article, despite Spencer telling him it was a wheeze, , one wonders what he might not fall for now that Sokal’s methodology has been partially automated :
    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2007/11/the-opeditorial.html

  85. Jim Cripwell:

    Ref 60. Ray writes “Jim, exactly what is the “rival idea” to anthropogenic causation.” The rival idea to AGW is that the sun controls the climate. As I have noted many times, there is not one jot of EXPERIMENTAL data which connects the recent alleged rise in global temperature with the recent rise in CO2 concentration. If there were any, it would have been front and center in AR4 to WG1. By “recent”, I mean since WWII. All AGW is, is a hypothesis unsupported by any experimental data. Likewise the idea that the sun controls climate suffers from the same problem. There is lots of correlation, but no experimental data. I have convinced myself that the physical properties of CO2 are such that it cannot possibly be the cause of AGW. Hence there must be another cause, and the most likely candidate is the sun. If you are looking for someone who uses the sun to forecast weather and climate, try Piers Corbyn. However, dont expect anything peer reviewed. Piers makes money from his forecasts, and does not reveal how he does it. When he started some 20 years ago, he won a significant amount of money betting on his forecasts. He was so successful that now he has now been barred from laying any bets, because his forecasts are too accurate. It is Piers contention that not only does the sun control climate, it controls weather as well.

    [Response: Any commercial success Corbyn has is testament only to the maxim that a fool is soon parted from his money. ‘Secret’ techniques and self-validated ‘predictions’ are the realm of hucksters, not scientists. But ignoring all that, no solar index shows a positive trend since the 1960s – how can it possibly account for the trend in recent decades? You may have convinced yourself the GHGs aren’t responsible – but you have yet to convince any others. – gavin]

  86. John Mashey:

    #51, #70, #72, etc. Hoaxes, consensus, Oreskes

    1) For people who want to understand more about the nature of scientific consensus in general, I recommend Naomi Oreskes longer essay:
    http://www.ametsoc.org/atmospolicy/documents/Chapter4.pdf.

    It gives a lot more than could be crammed into that 1-pager in Science.

    2) Guy considers updating the oreskes study, and we just went through that with the silly Monckton / Schulte / Ferguson / Morano vs Oreskes+consensus “hoax”, which did however manage to widely spread a bogus climate study by an NHS endocrinologist (who turned out be totally incompetent at climate science and plagiarism). I.e., it was more successful that this recent spoof, although the bottom line was the same: there was still overpowering consensus.

    If for some reason you care about that, but weren’t following it while it was happening, I wrote up a timeline+analysis that pulled everything together, as it is confusing to track from the various blogs. The folks at Zero Carbon in Cambridge posted it for me:

    http://zcarb.net/?p=532

  87. Figen Mekik:

    Thanks Timothy Chase, I appreciate your citing my post. :)

  88. Ray Ladbury:

    Lynn, while objective reality is the ultimate biter of tuckuses, scientific consensus matters as our best estimate of what objective reality looks like. Consensus is the difference between science in the 1700s–when the Isaac Newton’s influence and advocacy of of the corpuscular theory of light caused England to slip decades behind Europe in optics–and science in the 1900s–when physics embraced quantum mechanics, despite the opposition of influential physicists like Einstein and Schroedinger.

  89. Ric Merritt:

    OK, this is in the wrong thread, but it’s your fault. Very soon after putting up your Nov 9 post, “Find the error”, about pieces in the Ely (Nev) Times, you closed it to comments, but no one seems to have pointed out that the first of your linked “rather egregious contrarian” pieces is written tongue in cheek. Read again a little more carefully. Seems to me that a small update to the post is called for, today not being April 1. Of course, in your defense, many other similar rants alas seem to be in earnest. And, not having or wanting much knowledge of the context at the Ely Times, I can’t say whether the editor and publisher were in on the joke or nodding in agreement.

  90. rk:

    Re: Timothy Chase and Russell Seitz and the hoax. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Rush corrected the hoax immediately after the commercial. Laughed at getting hoaxed, told people to ignore the segment. Then Spencer put an apology on Rush’s webpage for issuing a poorly worded note to Rush, that mis-led him. Actually, the first comment on the hoax was on Planet Gore on the 7th. This is why the Nature story on the Pseudonymous hoaxter had to resort to finding a no-name blogger that had been fooled (so sad). Actually, the question is why a eviro-hoaxer would want to spend so much time, effort and creativity to tweak skeptics. Those of you who haven’t looked at it are missing something. It was a thing of beauty, insofar as formats, framing etc. Agent provocateur, anyone?

  91. Timothy Chase:

    Charles Muller (#80) wrote:

    The conservative conclusion is that patterns of second half XXth century warming and patterns of intrinsic variablity are coherent, and that intrinsic variability may be a sufficient explanation for observed warming (until a probabilistic analysis shows that these patterns significantly diverge from their natural range, but this would suppose we’re able to constrain this range, a quite optimistic horizon for Lorenz attractors).

    You write, “… until a probabilistic analysis shows that these patterns significantly diverge from their natural range, but this would suppose we’re able to constrain this range, a quite optimistic horizon for Lorenz attractors.”

    In terms of the spatial pattern, yes. The trend in global average temperature is a different matter — which I presume their analysis leaves unaffected. In contrast, the related temporal pattern of red noise affects the trend analysis of global average temperature, but not by much. And judging from the abstract at least, the authors seemed to be strongly leaning towards the view that they summarized as, “… the spatial patterns of the response to anthropogenic forcing may in fact project principally onto modes of natural climate variability.”

    In any case, it looks like an interesting paper. I will have to get a copy.

  92. Timothy Chase:

    Russell Seitz (#84) wrote:

    Given that Limbaugh refused to believe that the bogus J.Geoclim.Stud. text was _not_ a real science journal article, despite Spencer telling him it was a wheeze, , one wonders what he might not fall for now that Sokal’s methodology has been partially automated :…

    I see what you mean:

    However, Singer of the Frankfurt School , denying the Ibsonian angst of An Inconvenient Truth, affirms capitalist subdialectic stratosphere theory as a medium of semiosis and implies that even if…

    The Opeditorial Climate Optimum
    November 08, 2007
    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2007/11/the-opeditorial.html

    Hey, wait a second…

    The world appears to be warming first at the surface, but according to the dialectical forcing/feedback analysis, forcing is defined at the top of the atmosphere where change begins with the cooling of the stratosphere. This is the same sort of camera obscura which Marx mentioned in relation to our tools and our ideas — where it appears that changes to our ideas come first but in reality things are inverted.

    Its all beginning to fall into place now. But does this mean that global warming theory is… Marxist…?

  93. mg:

    those who are addicted to consensus don’t like things that shake consensus.

    as far as Einstein is concerned, those who administered Nobel prizes went out of their way not to award a Nobel prize for the work on relativity at the start of the 20th century. instead, they fumbled around until they found a good escape clause, written around the photoelectic effect.

    those who have recently administered Nobel prizes have not properly explained why the IPCC has been prized for not properly addressing the issue of nonlinear response of ice sheets.

    the work of the ipcc has left the world in confusion about the real risks of sea level rise. that is not worthy of a Nobel prize nor should the public accept it as such.

    like the student who isn’t give marks for homework unitl the homework is done (which reminds me of Stefan’s comments on the application of error theory in his recent post on the work of the IPCC sea level team), the ipcc should bring back its Nobel prize and have it placed back in the prizes cupboard until it has cleared up the risk confusion.

  94. Charles Muller:

    #86 John, I’m interested by the Oreskes essay but there’s a problem with your URL.

  95. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jim Cripwell writes:

    [[As I have noted many times, there is not one jot of EXPERIMENTAL data which connects the recent alleged rise in global temperature with the recent rise in CO2 concentration.]]

    The experimental work was done by John Tyndall in 1859-1863. Do you understand how a greenhouse gas works? If the greenhouse effect didn’t exist, the Earth would be frozen over. It’s very real.

  96. Jim Cripwell:

    Ref my 80, Gavin writes “But ignoring all that, no solar index shows a positive trend since the 1960s – how can it possibly account for the trend in recent decades? You may have convinced yourself the GHGs aren’t responsible – but you have yet to convince any others.” Since we have no idea what the physics is (if any), as to how the sun affects climate, how do we know what positive trend to look for? And I am never going to convince anyone that GHGs are not responsible for global warming. Only the hard, experimental data can do this.

    [Response: This is great. Despite the fact that the trends are well explained by our current understanding of increasing GHGs and their effects, you prefer to put faith in an unmeasured, undetected, unphysical ‘something’ that might (or might not) have something to do with the sun. Meanwhile every measure that is being made on the sun – irradiance, magnetic activity, radio flux activity, cosmic ray shielding show no long term trends in recent decades. This is hardly a scientific attitude and you wouldn’t apply this kind of logic to any other scientific issue – gavin]

  97. Ray Ladbury:

    Charles Muller,
    First, if you will recall, Oreskes’s conclusions did not go unchallenged at the time. Benny Peiser attempted to publish a rebuttal in Science, but was hoisted on his own petard when he leaked the study to the press prior to publication, and Science told him “Thanks, but no thanks.” It is doubtful that Peiser would have been published anyway, as a review of his “dozens” of publications questioning the consensus, turns up maybe half a dozen that really do. Moreover, all of these predate 2000–most by a considerable amount. Moreover, I would note that Lindzen has never actually defended his absurdly low value for CO2 forcing–typically, he threw it out there and sat there quietly humming as it was ripped to tiny little shreds.
    So, Charles, if you don’t buy the consensus, go find some papers–published by climate scientists in peer-reviewed scientific journals–that question it. Go ahead. We’ll wait.
    Scientific consensus, in any case, does not require 100% agreement. You might enjoy perusing this bit about the N ray controversy:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N_ray
    One of the oddities of scientific evidence is that it is much easier to say comparatively whether a given piece of evidence supports one theory over its competitors than it is to say a theory is true. One definition of consensus is when you run out of credible competing theorys to which you can compare. We’re there.

  98. Bob Clipperton (UK):

    Re my earlier post #65 in which I indirectly criticised the Daily telegraph in the UK, I have to report that after many attempts the editor has published today one of my letters:-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/11/11/nosplit/dt1101.xml

    It has galvanised me now to keep on trying to counter the contrarian’s falsities.

  99. Charles Muller:

    #80 Comment

    Gavin, I read Oreskes paper when it was published but I read it again as you engage me.

    First, an assertion like “But our grandchildren will surely blame us if they find that we understood the reality of anthropogenic climate change and failed to do anything about it” has surely its place in an Al Gore meeting, but not really in a scientific review. At best, it reveals the personal opinion of the author. At worse, her prejudice.

    Second, Oreskes explains that 75% of papers explicitly or implicitly accept the consensus view. But what does exactly mean an “implicit acceptation”? Let’s take this Hasselmann Science paper (with “climate change” in the abstract). His point : there’s still uncertainty in the emergence of anthropogenic warming in the noise of climate variability, because models poorly constrain aerosols, clouds, tropical ocean/atmosphere coupling, etc. So, this paper does not accept nor reject the consensus position (“most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”), it simply underscores the remaining uncertainties in such an exercise of detection-attribution. What should we conclude? As a skeptic, I’ll conclude that Hasselmann recognize the poor constrain of climate models and therefore the poor likelihood of any statement about past or future climate change – to say “likely” rather than “more likely than not” or “as likely as not” is a choice whose objective or quantitative basis is weak. (Of course, I’m pretty sure Klaus Hasselmann himself does not reject the consensus, but that’s not the problem).

    Climate Change: Enhanced: Are We Seeing Global Warming?
    K. Hasselmann
    Measurements over the last century show that the global mean temperature has increased by about 0.5 degrees C. But how much, if any, of that increase can be attributed to human activity is uncertain and highly controversial. In his Perspective, Hasselmann discusses recent efforts to untangle anthropogenic climate change from natural climate variability. Improvements in computer modeling have reduced the scatter in climate change simulations from 50 to 20%, but significant differences remain. To resolve the contentious issues of anthropogenic warming, more work will be needed on the role of aerosols, clouds, and ocean-atmosphere coupling in climate change.
    Science 9 May 1997: Vol. 276. no. 5314, pp. 914 – 915 DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5314.914

    Third, how are we sure Oreskes focus on the expression “climate change” in abstract does not constitute an initial bias? This global expression is mainly used by AOGCM modellers working in the IPCC process, so it would be surprising to find in their peer-reviewed many papers contradicting the consensus defined from these papers. If we take “solar forcing” or “natural variability” as key-words for 1993-2003 peer-reviewed publications, we will certainly find a wider range of scientific positions, including some which suggest solar forcing ou natural variability are the main drivers of recent climate change (so, implicit or explicit rejection of consensus).

  100. James:

    Re #89: [ And, not having or wanting much knowledge of the context at the Ely Times…]

    One important piece of context is that there’s a proposal to build a large coal-fired power plant in the area. Search on “White Pine Power Project” if interested.

  101. Lawrence Brown:

    Re:#80 Where in Oreskes study did you find this
    “…….. Oreskes conclusion (100% of scientific papers agree with IPCC)………” can you cite this conclusion? I don’t think so. This not stated in the study. Could this be…. “a rhetorical… artifact rather than an objective assessment on..” her conclusions?

  102. Jim Galasyn:

    Hey Bob, congrats on getting your letter published — it certainly stands out among all the denialist letters on that page.

  103. Nick Gotts:

    Re #66 (Richard Ordway) “But, the Brits did not give up even when in a nearly hopeless situation against near overwhelming odds…and won anyway.”

    – with a little help from allies!

  104. Charles Muller:

    A detail: About solar forcing (recent exchange Jim / Gavin), it would be more precise to say no trend since 1980 rather than 1960 (Lockwood and Frohlich 2007 or Usoskin and Solanki 2003 agree on that). If I recall correctly, solar cycles 21 (peak in the 1980s) and 22 (peak in the 1990s) were more active than cycle 20 (peak in the 1970s), so it does not exclude an influence of solar forcing in the initial phase of recent and significant warming (from 1977 onward). But not for 1990-2007 in our current undestanding of solar effect on climate.

    (Anyway, cycle 23 was less active than the two previous and we must hope the coming cycle 24 will be still less active than 23: this would be of great help for interpretation of climatologies regarding solar influence in stratosphere, troposphere and surface).

  105. Jim Cripwell:

    Ref 95 I fail to see how John Tyndal in 1859 could have done any experiments of what effect an increase of CO2 in the 20th century has on a 20th century temperature rise. Of course, CO2 is a greenhouse gas; a very minor one, but it still has a significant effect at low concentrations. The disagreement is how saturated the effect is. On this aspect, there is no experimental data.

  106. Jim Galasyn:

    Re solar forcing, you’re both wrong. It has been definitively shown that the warming trend is strongly correlated with the decline of pirates:

    http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter

    It’s all there in the numbers.

  107. Jim Cripwell:

    Ref my 96 Gavin writes “This is hardly a scientific attitude and you wouldn’t apply this kind of logic to any other scientific issue” I do resent being told that I do not have a scientific attitude, and I hope you will post this rebuttal in full. My position is perfectly scientific, if you would only read everything I have written. It does become a bore rewriting the same things over and over again. First, from my previous work on CO2, I found it impossible to believe that adding any more CO2 into the atmosphere, over pre-industrial levels, could cause the sort of effects claimed by AGW. There is correlation to be sure, but I note that there is no experimental data that connects the recent alleged rise in temperature with the recent rise in CO2 concentration. Hence AGW is merely a hypothesis, with no supporting experimental data. If CO2 is not causing the recent warming, then something else must be. That something is, I believe, the sun. There is a great deal of correlation with things that happen on the sun, and the earth’s climate; e.g. the number of sunspots in the middle of solar cycles when the sun ought to be active, correlate very well with both warm and cold periods on earth. Notably the Maunder minimum, and the 20th century, when the sun has been more active than average. However, there is no obvious physics that accounts for this correlation. There is no comprehensive physics that expalins, in detail, the various cold and warm periods that the earth has experienced over the years. There are hypotheses, but, again, no experimental data. We are, therefore, faced with two hypotheses, neither of which has any supporting experimental data; AGW and the sun. I choose to believe the sun is the cause, and I fully expect that when the hard data comes in, I will be proved to have been correct.

    [Response: Even by your logic that makes no sense. You claim no knowledge supports either GHGs or the sun, and you are therefore confident it must be the sun. Why? The logic of your presentation should only lead to complete agnosticism. But in reality there is plenty of positive evidence – changes in radiation spectra at the top and bottom of the atmosphere show exactly what is expected from increases in GHGs, predicted effects are seen (strat cooling, more warming over continents than land, winter than summer), models runs from almost twenty years ago match what was seen etc. Solar forcing is fine as a theory and I’ve written half a dozen papers on the subject – it’s just not relevant today (just like orbital forcing, the opening of Drake’s Passage, or the massive final drainage of Lake Agassiz aren’t relevant either). Meanwhile, the people who used your argument in the 1980s, 1990s and today keep bringing it up as if no additional evidence is ever presented. It is indeed ‘a bore’. – gavin]

  108. John Mashey:

    re: #94 Charles on my URL in #8
    Oops, sorry, the extra period snuck in. Correct for Oreskes’ essay is:

    http://www.ametsoc.org/atmospolicy/documents/Chapter4.pdf

  109. Richard Ordway:

    re. 107 Gavin, you mean more warming over land then the oceans don’t you?

    You wrote
    “more warming over continents than land.”

    [Response: Err… yes. In my defense, it was written during a Sunday morning repose…. Thanks – gavin]

  110. Timothy Chase:

    rk (#90) wrote:

    Re: Timothy Chase and Russell Seitz and the hoax. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Rush corrected the hoax immediately after the commercial. Laughed at getting hoaxed, told people to ignore the segment. Then Spencer put an apology on Rush’s webpage for issuing a poorly worded note to Rush, that mis-led him.

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I haven’t regarded Rush Limbaugh’s “mistake” as being all that central in this. It isn’t about Rush. In fact, at root it isn’t even about climatology or even the nature of science, but something much more fundamental and profound as well as something ancient and primitive. However, lets focus on something a little closer to your current range of interests.

    Even at the most superficial level, the hoax proved its point. If you look at the article referenced in George Darroch’s 69, it states:

    Skeptics jumped on the report. A British scientist e-mailed the report to 2,000 colleagues before spotting it was a spoof. Another from the U.S. called it a “blockbuster.”

    Blogger skeptic Neil Craig wrote: “This could not be more damaging to manmade global warming theory … I somehow doubt if this is going to be on the BBC news.”

    Hoax bacteria study tricks climate skeptics
    Thu Nov 8, 2007 3:25pm GMT
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKL0887458220071108

    It was a splash with much of the skeptic community, even with scientists who should have known better than to simply assume that a single technical paper will overturn decades of science.

    In all likelihood the latter should have seen the problems with the paper’s thesis simply in terms of ocean chemistry and the fact that the ocean is not presently an emitter of CO2 but a sink. The carbon dioxide which is entering the climate system in entering through the atmosphere — and in terms of its distribution (as determined by satellite imaging), it is largely coming from regions of high population density. They should also have known that matching the trend of rising atmospheric CO2, we have the trend of falling atmospheric O2 — caused by the consumption of oxygen as we burn fossil fuels. And they should have known that the lighter carbon isotope marks the CO2 as the product of fossil fuel use.

    However, from my perspective, what most eloquently demonstrated the central conceit of the hoax were the few skeptics who saw through it — and panicked.

    Roy Spencer is the best example I have seen so far:

    Several of us (scientists and non-scientists alike) were able, within a matter of seconds to minutes, to identify the paper as a fake. We then spread the word, warning others of the hoax. Therefore, we showed that we do not, as the hoaxer claims, “believe almost anything if it lends support to their position”. We did exactly the opposite.

    As I said in 77:

    Spencer could smell the hoax. It would have been hard for anyone with a passing familiarity with the ocean chemistry, benthic bacteria or CO2 levels and emissions not to.

    But how many others? And why did they think it necessary to “spread the word” — unless they were just as convinced as the hoaxster that there would be those, some prominent, who would buy into it?

    You have to admit, there is a certain princely poetry to Spencer’s warning having been misinterpreted by his friend, bringing about exactly what it was intended to prevent, isn’t there?

  111. Paul Harris:

    One more ‘refutation’ of AGW hit the streets last week. It is the book “Scared to Death”‘ by Chrisopher Booker and Richard North (two columnists on the conservative British paper The Daily Telegraph). It is favourably reviewed at this website: http://eureferendum2.blogspot.com/. As you will see, all the usual suspects are lined up: the Mediaeval Warming, the infamous hockey stick, the misleading Al Gore and once again the answer is to be found in the stars. Well, in one star in particular, its all due to radiation from the sun!!

    “Enjoy” or is that the wrong word when attempting to digest such dross?

  112. Bob Clipperton (UK):

    re#102 Thanks Jim

  113. rk:

    @ Timothy Chase #110

    This just gets richer. Ok, I bit and looked up Neil Craig. Seems to have a comic store/Sci-Fi store in the UK, and (at least former) Lib-Dem. Evidently quite a famous blog to the Reuters/BBC crowd (must remember to put on favorites list). Let’s see, did the hoax fool CA (no), Chris Horner (no), Roy Spencer (no), Junk Science (no). Did it hoax a radio personality for 4 minutes (yes), did he correct (yes), did he laugh about getting hoaxed so everyone knew it exactly what it was (yes). The guy said it took him four days, which (if you saw it you know is true). The poor guy didn’t even make it to Media Matters, which would have Loved to Bash Limbaugh. Sorry, the guy’s 15 minutes of fame is over. Move On.

  114. rk:

    If the moderator permits one PS to my post: In looking a the Neil Craig stuff, I found that the manager of the famous model is dis-avowing the “dollar dumping” story on Bloomberg, saving “Some idiot in Brazil reported something just to make news.”. Like I said, I think its time to move on from this small story.

  115. Jim Eager:

    Re 107 Jim Cripwell: “It does become a bore rewriting the same things over and over again.”

    Not to mention reading the same things over and over again.
    Fortunately there is a very easy solution at hand, at least on the receiving end.

  116. Dave Rado:

    Re. Jim Cripwell, #105:

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas; a very minor one,

    I suggest you educate yourself about atmospheric physics before posting any more ill-informed ramblings. A good place to start would be here.

  117. Chris C:

    Interesting discussion between Jim and Gavin, but a few extra points.

    Jim, you may want to view some of the more recent literature on solar activity (e.g Foukal et al 2006; Ammann, Caspar et al. 2007; Lockwood and Frohlich 2007) but there are plenty of others. Solar activity certainly did play a major role in climatic activity over, say, the maunder minimum or some earlier century warming. Earth’s position relative to the sun, or Earth’s tilt effecting how solar radiation is distributed played a role over geologic time. However, there is no trend since about 1950- and it may even be a bit negative. As concluded in countless papers, anthropogenic factors are are main forcing mechanism for climate change after mid-century, or from pre-industrial times.

    So, we have satellites showing the sun isn’t changing, cosmic-ray monitors showing they aren’t changing, we know heat is going in the ocean and not going out, we know about the downward infrared flux, the stratosphere cooling, among many others things which allow for attrbution with high confidence. We also know the CO2 physics- we’ve known this for a long time now. So, even if the sun is strongly positive, you can’t just “replace” CO2, you need to add CO2 on top of the solar forcing, and you get more reason for concern. As gavin says, if you want to put hopes on a phantom cycle, you’re welcome to it.

  118. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    OT, but I have a Q & need an answer by tomorrow 11 am (CST) for a presentation I’m giving on “Recent Trends in the Media on GW” at my U.

    Going through the news items on ClimateArk ( http://www.climateark.org/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=57919 ), I came across this 2006 article “Climate change could cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, scientists say,” part of which reads:

    A number of geologists say glacial melting due to climate change will unleash pent-up pressures in the Earth’s crust, causing extreme geological events such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

    What do you think about it?

    And is it possible that the huge volcanic eruptions during the end-Permian may have in part been caused by warming changing the ice/snow pressure? — the volcanic eruptions supposedly responsible for triggering the warming and positive carbon feedback hysteresis scenario that eventually led to 90%+ extinction of life?

    In other words, could there have been some positive feedback between warming-eruptions?

  119. Martin Vermeer:

    Re #89 Ely Times, another thing that nobody got around to pointing out in all the excitement over the Benthic Hoax, is that the editorial the Dr Mann commented on, while not “really a contrarian hit piece”, was something more insidious and in its own way just as dangerous: an attempt to plant misleading memes.

    Call it “lying with facts” if you like. “CO2 is not a poison”. Right. Agreed. The stuff isn’t toxic. “At one time there was alot more CO2 in the atmosphere than there is now”. Again agreed. No argument. But why are those factoids being planted here? Perhaps in order to be read like “CO2 is not dangerous”, “We’ll get used to those higher concentrations”, as will happen in the minds of many context-unaware readers?

    Michael Mann was fully justified in responding as aggressively as he did. I found his response still too meek — a newspaper editor is reponsible for what he writes, even if he got fooled by others into doing so (which may be the case here). Also Dr Mann could have been more specific, mentioning, e.g., the PETM as an illustration that rapid CO2 increases can be pretty disruptive even if natural.

    A see way too much of this “lying with facts” going on. I can tell from the questions people ask me that they’ve been reading the wrong web sites ;-/

  120. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jim Cripwell writes:

    [[The disagreement is how saturated the effect is. On this aspect, there is no experimental data.]]

    There is plenty of experimental data dating to the 1940s. CO2 line saturation is well understood and has been for a long time, and it doesn’t make CO2 ineffectual as a greenhouse gas at high concentrations. Otherwise Venus would be a lot cooler than it is.

    Will you please crack a book and learn about this stuff before pontificating about it? If you don’t want something mathematical like Good and Yung’s “Atmospheric Radiation” (1989), then try Spencer Weart’s “The Discovery of Global Warming” (2003), which describes the history of the controversy in non-mathematical terms.

  121. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Pimping another link, I just added a page to my climatology web site debunking one of Alexander Cockburn’s editorials:

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Climatology.html

  122. John:

    #40
    Answer to the question on readiative forcing :
    Radiative forcing is measured in watts per square meter. The Earth system absorbs about 237 watts per square meter from the Sun, on average. But the surface, at 288 K, radiates about 390 watts per square meter. The difference, 153 watts per square meter, is the “greenhouse forcing.” It is estimated that doubling CO2 will cause the difference to widen by 3.7 watts per square meter, enough to raise the Earth’s mean surface temperature about 2.8 degrees K. given all the known feedbacks.

    Can you clarify this for me ? In order to ‘widen the gap’, either less radiation is being received or more is being radiated. I can’t quite understand this – if less is being received- then we shouldn’t be warming up. And why would CO2 make the surface radiate more ? Can you clarify ?

    THANKS
    John

  123. Nick Barnes:

    John @ 122: First, consider the Earth’s surface in equilibrium. It receives some heat from the Sun, but radiates more heat. The surface must be receiving additional heat from somewhere (otherwise it is losing more heat than it absorbs, so is not in equilibrium). This “somewhere” is the atmosphere, which absorbs some of that outbound radiation and returns it to the surface. This absorption is the greenhouse effect, and is due to the composition of the atmosphere.
    Now, change the composition of the atmosphere to increase the greenhouse effect. Allow the system to reach equilibrium again. Plainly, this equilibrium will be at a higher temperature.
    I’m not familiar with the exact numbers for the radiative balance (the 390 W/m^2, 237 W/m^2 etc), but this is the general idea.

  124. Nick O.:

    Regarding ‘climate change sceptics’, the following has just come up on the BBC, and is worth a read:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7081026.stm

    Re John #122: herewith a somewhat simplistic answer, but I hope it makes sense.

    The ‘gap’ in question is the difference between the interior and incoming energy sources, which can treated as a +ve quantity (an input to temperature, if you like), and the radiated energy, which can be treated as a -ve quantity (a reduction in temperature, by the same token). The interior sources are mostly accounted for by the Earth’s own heat output at its core, which is well manifested by the geothermal gradient (which is one of the reasons why it is so damned hot in coal mines, gold mines etc. very deep underground). The Earth’s interior heat sources are driven largely by radioactive processes, so they don’t change much over short periods of time e.g. 100 years. Hence, the main factors changing the energy balance are solar input and the ability of the atmosphere to chuck the stuff back into space. So, if you add the solar input (c. 237 W.m-2) and interior heating (c. 153 W.m-2), and subtract the radiated (c. 390 W.m-2), your ‘gap’ is just about zero, hence the stable(ish) climate over the last few millenia. Now, if you change the radiated component, that is *reduce* it, by c. 3.7 W.m-2, you now have an energy gap: solar input + interior heat is still 390 W.m-2, but radiated is now only c. 386.3 W.m-2. We therefore move towards a modest energy surplus, which means we warm up, and this continues until the Earth is warmed enough to radiate at c. equilibrium again. The main arguments are over the rate and extent of the warming, and the presence of positive and negative feedbacks within the Earth system, but the main heating sources (interior heat and solar output) are assumed to hold broadly constant.

    Hope that helps/clarifies.

  125. Timothy Chase:

    rk (#113) wrote:

    This just gets richer. Ok, I bit and looked up Neil Craig. Seems to have a comic store/Sci-Fi store in the UK, and (at least former) Lib-Dem. Evidently quite a famous blog to the Reuters/BBC crowd (must remember to put on favorites list). Let’s see, did the hoax fool CA (no), Chris Horner (no), Roy Spencer (no), Junk Science (no). Did it hoax a radio personality for 4 minutes (yes), did he correct (yes), did he laugh about getting hoaxed so everyone knew it exactly what it was (yes). The guy said it took him four days, which (if you saw it you know is true). The poor guy didn’t even make it to Media Matters, which would have Loved to Bash Limbaugh. Sorry, the guy’s 15 minutes of fame is over. Move On.

    It fooled Rush Limbaugh for only 90 seconds, but apparently it duped Sean Hannity of Fox News as well:

    Institute of Geoclimatic Studies finds basic flaw in Global Warming Consensus.
    How could we have missed this!!? Boy! Our face is red!!
    November 8th, 2007, 2:30 pm
    http://forums.hannity.com/showthread.php?t=403151

    It came out in Great Britain first on a list with 5000 members which advertises itself as having “more than 1000 astronomers and researchers who work in almost every field of planetary and Earth sciences but also many hundreds of science writers, columnists, and news editors.” It was announced by the editor of the list, Benny Peiser, a sociologist.

    However, as I said, that wasn’t my point (#110).

    Roy Spencer and others who saw through the fraud then thinking it necessary to “spread the word” proves that they thought the hoaxster was right about the “skeptic” movement and the largely emotional basis for its beliefs. It was their concession that he was right. Likewise, they are tolerant of a great deal of other dishonesty in their “movement”. Please see Curve manipulation: lesson 2 on E.G. Beck and Swindled! on The Great Global Warming Swindle for refutations of a couple of examples. Then there is physicist Fred Singer who goes from claiming that global warming isn’t happening to the claim that it is unstoppable.

    But for another example, consider one of the reactions to the paper on benthic bacteria:

    I was suspicious of the researchers when I noted that they still believed that changes in CO2 levels drive climate changes and claimed to correlate their bacterial populations with temperature change through some remarkably congruent graphs, though other evidence strongly suggests it is more likely the opposite. Recent research shows that temperature changes occur several hundred years BEFORE temperature change. But that’s a topic for another discussion.

    by Brooks Mick
    The Cause of Global Warming Discovered?
    November 08, 2007 02:00 PM EST
    http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/29141.html

    How many “skeptics” believe this is a valid criticism of anthropogenic global warming? That scientists are arguing for linear causation rather than positive feedback?

    All of this dishonesty is tolerated and left almost completely unchallenged in the “skeptic” movement because it isn’t a rational movement devoted to reality but one driven by emotion and political ideology – and is largely held together by a psychology which is more concerned with solidarity to the tribe than fidelity to the truth.

  126. Timothy Chase:

    Martin Vermeer (#119) wrote:

    Michael Mann was fully justified in responding as aggressively as he did. I found his response still too meek — a newspaper editor is reponsible for what he writes, even if he got fooled by others into doing so (which may be the case here).

    I think that Michael Mann acted appropriately.

    According to Aristotle, excellence consists of acting at the right time, in the right place and the right way, and for the right reasons. However, Aristotle also believed that man is a political animal. One should act as one would have others act. One should stand as an example, and as such one’s actions should be tempered to a degree that recognizes the need for others to understand why one acts the way in which one acts.

    … or at least, this is how I understand the situation.

  127. Jim Cripwell:

    Ref 117 Chris writes “However, there is no trend since about 1950- and it may even be a bit negative”. I will merely point out that solar cycle 24 has not yet started. There are numerous forecasts as to how active solar cycle 24 will be, but there is general agreement that the later the start, the lower the activity is likely to be at maximum. Dr Hathaway, of NASA, says that the sun is sending “mixed signals”. There is at least one forecast that predicts a maximum sunspot number of 50 or less for solar cycle 24. If this is true, we may not have seen the sun this quiet for nearly 300 years. There is a developing consensus that we may be heading for something like the Dalton minimum. I am not sure whether one could classify this as a “trend”, should it occur.

  128. David B. Benson:

    Lynn Vincentnathan (118) — Briefly, no, not possible. At greater length, adding or subtracting mass in the form of water or ice does cause some rather minor earthquakes and, it seems, may affect the exact timing of large ones.

    Valcanoes, on the other hand, are due solely to energies supplied from deep with the earth’s crust and so even the timing is unlikely to be affected by the presence or absence of ice.

  129. Martin Vermeer:

    Re #116 Climate change and earthquakes: yes there is a connection. It’s called isostasy. Patrick Wu, a co-worker of Dick Peltier (U. of Toronto) who have been studying this complex of problems, knows what he is talking about (although the quote in the article is a bit lame).

    What happens is the following. When a continental ice sheet melts or retreats, the pressure on the underlying rock diminishes. It responds to that immediately (elastically), and with a delay (plastically). In Fennoscandia and Canada the Earth’s crust continues to slowly uplift (order 10 mm/a) after the last deglaciation; isostatic equilibrium still isn’t fully restored.

    These processes are accompanied by seismic activity. In Fennoscandia, microseisms only instrumentally observable, but the Earth’s crust bears traces of recent tectonic motions along pre-existing faults. Undoubtedly such motions during the latest deglaciation were accompanied by seismic activity.

    What happens when, e.g., the Greenland ice sheet melts, is first that mass is redistributed: a huge lump of ice disappears from Greenland. This changes the gravity field of the Earth: the attraction of the ice disappears and as a result, the melting water will seek to go to the Southern oceans. This is somewhat counterintuitive: around Greenland, sea level may even go down relative to the coastlines. Even as far away as New York and London, sea level rise will be well below average, but around the Southern oceans it will be above average.

    There are two responses to post-glacial deloading: elastic (small) and plastic. The plastic response involves the asthenosphere, a layer of slowly-deformable mantle rock under the lithosphere or brittle surface layer of the Earth. Under Fennoscandia, asthenospheric masses slowly flow back into the space evacuated by the rising crust.

    Returning to the Greenland melting, what would happen is that
    1) relieved from the load, Greenland tries to move up
    2) the released water presses the ocean floor down, especially on the Southern hemisphere.

    The amount of asthenospheric matter that process 1) wants to suck up is roughly equal to what process 2) produces… only, it is in the wrong place. Therefore the matter squeezed out from under the ocean floor goes initially to nearby continental margins, which are thus being pushed up. This is known as the ‘cantilever effect’.

    Expect earthquakes to happen primarily at the ice sheet’s rim, but secondarily at continental margins, especially on the Southern hemisphere.

    It seems that all the good articles on this are subscription only. Look for authors Peltier, Mitrovica, Lambeck.

    A nice description of concepts:

    http://www.homepage.montana.edu/~geol445/hyperglac/isostasy1/

  130. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    #127, thanks, David….although I couldn’t use this for my presentation, I did tell the group that they could ask any (stupid) question they wished on this blog, and get a good answer, that even some grammar school kid had asked questions and got replies.

  131. Nick O.:

    Re #118 and #127: Although change in ice loading, following climate change, may not be thought of as a likely source of seismic events, climate change could be the cause of bigger, more intense storm systems, leading to major movements in eroded sediment. Where these movements occur across susceptible fault lines, overlying crust of the right temperature range and plasticity, then seismic response may be quite likely, in fact, rather than not. For a useful discussion, see:

    Westaway R
    Investigation of coupling between surface processes and induced flow in the lower continental crust as a cause of intraplate seismicity
    EARTH SURFACE PROCESSES AND LANDFORMS 31 (12): 1480-1509 OCT 30 2006

    Of course, it’s not simply climate change that can cause sediment movement of the scale and extent of this kind: the ‘Three Gorges’ dam provides an interesting encounter with the sediment-seismicity effect, although in this instance, the chinese have probably been particularly lucky, in that the crust is fortuitously v. resistant in this region to the effect in question. It won’t be everywhere, though, so the seismic effect problem shouldn’t be ignored.

  132. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    RE #130 & “climate change could be the cause of bigger, more intense storm systems, leading to major movements in eroded sediment”

    Thanks, and you made me think of another thing. I believe if there is enough sea warming and pockets of ice-bound methane & gravel melt (thermokarst??), this also leads to some undersea landslides, and perhaps quakes (which might then mechanically release more methane & ice), if not volcanic activity.

    I’m way over my head here, but I’m trying to understand.

  133. David B. Benson:

    Lynn Vincentnathan (129) — You are welcome. The situation is better explained, but at greater length, by Martin Vermeer in comment #128 and Nick O. in comment #130. I will point out that the induced earthquakes due to isostatic effects or massive erosion, etc., tend to be minor. The major and great earthquakes can only be powered by tectonic plate flow, although the exact timing can probably be altered by adding or subtracting ice.

    There is one enigmatic fault in northern Sweden, still occasionally moving, which first greatly moved ‘shortly’ after the fennoscandinavian ice sheet had largely melted away. This seems to suggest a locked, deep fault which removal of a few percent of the overburden sufficed to cause it to move. But little is understood about such intraplate faults, so it might have had a different primary cause.

  134. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim Cripwell, Looking over your posts, I can only conclude that somehow Realclimate has established communications with a being on another planet. Wow! The mind boggles. First, on your planet it would appear that climate and weather are indistinguishable (per your comment in #85). Indeed, the sun does drive weather for the most part here, too, but there are other important forcers as well. It is also interesting that on your planet CO2 is a “very minor” ghg, whereas here it is responsible for >20% of the 33K greenhouse effect. Or do you consider >20% “very minor”? However, it would appear that on your planet, the understanding of planetary atmospheric energetics lags behind that on our planet by at least 50 years! The greenhouse effect is well understood by scientists even if it is not understood by you. Finally wrt solar cycles, yes, it looks like solar cycle 24 will be a bit wimpy (a boon for my satellites), but I still wouldn’t put it outside the normal range just yet. The 11-year solar cycle with 7 years solar max and 4 years solar min is an idealization. What is more, what the Sun does in the next solar cycle is irrelevant, as the past 3 solar cycles were sufficient to demonstrate the divergence between solar activity and climatic trends. What that means is that there has to be an additional forcer, so even if we saw an effect due to a really wimpy SS 24, it would not weaken the case for anthropogenic causation of the current warming epoch.
    BTW, re your characterization of CO2 as “very minor” I question not just its veracity, but also the style. To quote Mark Twain: “Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

  135. Alex:

    I wonder why these scientists bothered responding to the survey, apparently without caring who’s behind it. It’s clear that there are operations out there willing to manipulate, misrepresent, cherry-pick, and/or misinterpret findings. You’d think that would justify some caution.

  136. Jeffrey Davis:

    re: solar cycles

    The mean variation between cycles is much less than the variation within a cycle. If there were a pronounced solar effect due to changes in output it would track the rise and fall of output within the cycle, and the temperature record would show a rise and fall like a sine wave or a little roller-coaster. The temperature record has no little sine wave which tracks the solar cycle rise and fall.

  137. Timothy Chase:

    Alex (#135) wrote:

    I wonder why these scientists bothered responding to the survey, apparently without caring who’s behind it. It’s clear that there are operations out there willing to manipulate, misrepresent, cherry-pick, and/or misinterpret findings. You’d think that would justify some caution.

    People tend to expect others to be like themselves.

    If they are honest, their first impulse is to be trusting, forthcoming, and if of good will, to expect good will in return. It is only with experience that honest people will become more careful. Speaking from experience, I didn’t really understand what people could be like until a young lady I had a crush on came back from Shellback Initiation. (We were both in the navy and onboard ship at the time – and the ship crossed the equator.)

  138. Pete Dunkelberg:

    OT: Open Lab 2007

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/11/openlab-2007-su.html

    Follow the url. Nominations are being taken for OpenLab 2007. I would like to see something about climate change included, but I don’t know what to pick.

    Note: in this situation it is fine for a blogger to submit his or her own best. Who else knows your whole work?

    p.s. you still have a month to write the greatest. What do you want people to understand?

  139. dhogaza:

    wonder why these scientists bothered responding to the survey, apparently without caring who’s behind it.

    Most didn’t, apparently, only 50+ answered it.

  140. Global Warming:

    Climate scientists have always amazed me and continue to do so more every day.Its always surprise and i dont know how they are able to do it.

  141. Jim Cripwell:

    Ref 134 Ray writes “What is more, what the Sun does in the next solar cycle is irrelevant” We will see. We only have about 6 or 7 years to wait.

  142. Jim Cripwell:

    Again Ref 134. I quote from a dialogue between Fred Singer and Gavin Schmidt from the BBC and Richard Black.

    “Sceptic The natural greenhouse effect keeps the Earth’s surface about 33C warmer than it would otherwise be. Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas, accounting for about 98% of all warming. So changes in carbon dioxide or methane concentrations would have a relatively small impact. Water vapour concentrations are rising, but this does not necessarily increase warming – it depends how the water vapour is distributed.

    Counter
    Water vapour is essentially in balance with the planet’s temperature on annual timescales and longer, whereas trace greenhouse gases such as CO2 stay in the atmosphere on a timescale of decades to centuries. The statement that water vapour is “98% of the greenhouse effect” is simply false. In fact, it does about 50% of the work; clouds add another 25%, with CO2 and the other greenhouse gases contributing the remaining quarter. Water vapour concentrations are increasing in response to rising temperatures, and there is evidence that this is adding to warming, for example in Europe. The fact that water vapour ”

    It seems to me that this illustrates very vividly why the discussion between the two sides is a dialogue of the deaf. We know both men are honorable scientists who would not make such statements if they could not back them up. Yet when Gavin states “The statement that water vapour is “98% of the greenhouse effect” is simply false.”, something is radically wrong. Would it not be a good idea to get to the bottom of this particular disagreement in a thoroughly scientific and professional way?

    [Response: That’s the thing about science, some things are simply incorrect. There is no compromise possible. Singer uses the 98% number because it sounds good, he doesn’t care that it is false. See http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/calculating-the-greenhouse-effect/ for instance. -gavin]

  143. Martin Vermeer:

    Re #133 David, you are right that earthquakes seen as a consequence of isostatic load changes tend to be small (and about vulcanism I don’t dare to say anything — not my field. I suspect the same applies).

    However! Our only experiences with changes in isostatic load tend to be small, like the filling of hydro-power reservoirs, mountain glacier retreat etc. If the whole Greenland ice sheet, or a large part of it, were to go on a decadal timescale, we might see some biggies… nobody knows. But I expect that then the direct consequences of sea level rise would steal the limelight ;-/

  144. catman306:

    143, 133: What bothers me about melting glaciers and ice sheets are the the changes in angular momentum caused when many millions of tons of ice are removed from mountains 10,000 feet high and drained to the seas. Any rotating system will experience vibrations and stresses as mass shifts. For the earth, those shifts in mass may open faults or cause them to move: earthquakes. Had your tires balanced lately?

  145. John Finn:

    Re: Gavin’s respoonse to #96

    This is great. Despite the fact that the trends are well explained by our current understanding of increasing GHGs and their effects, you prefer to put faith in an unmeasured, undetected, unphysical ’something’ that might (or might not) have something to do with the sun.

    But the trends are not well explained. The mid-20th century warming cannot be explained without including the aerosol fudge factor. The regions which produced aerosols in the post-war period covered less than 10% of the NH. If global temps fell be 0.2 deg C between 1940 and 1970 then temperatures in the aerosol-producing regions must have fell by at least 2 degrees – possibly a lot more since they need to overcome the global warming from CO2.

  146. John:

    Nick @123 – thanks for the explanation. At least I know know what everyone means when thesewords get bandied around. Couple of observations though :
    1) it seems to be a chicken and egg situation – the amount the earth radiates is a function of the average surface T. The temp rise could come from other sources as well as absorbtion and re-radiation. It doesn’t have to be due to gases right ?
    2) Just doing a quick calculation. A 3.7 W/m2 increase seems quite large. I just worked out that this would be what we would get if the earth was 1 million km nearer the sun. Tha seems a lot to put onto a gas we can only measure in ppms – is this possible ? Does the physics show that an extra 280 ppm (doubling) gives the same impact as moving 1 million km nearer the sun ?

    Thanks
    John

  147. Timothy Chase:

    Jim Cripwell (142) wrote:

    Again Ref 134. I quote from a dialogue between Fred Singer and Gavin Schmidt from the BBC and Richard Black. … We know both men are honorable scientists who would not make such statements if they could not back them up.

    Jim, feel free to trot out any argument of Fred Singer’s you like and we can consider it separately from the man himself. However, since you have claimed that he is an honorable scientist, I consider myself obliged to point out:

    1. Fred Singer has been a hired gun for the tobacco industry with ties to Phillip Morris.

    Please See:
    S.Fred Singer – SourceWatch
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fred_Singer

    2. He has worked for Exxon, Texaco, Arco, Shell and the American Gas Association. (ibid.)

    3. Fred Singer is/has participated in thirteen organizations which receive money from Exxon. These include the Heritage Foundation ($585,000 since 1998) which he served as a policy expert in the 1980s, the Heartland Institute (they have received $791,000 since 1998) which he serves as an expert, and the Frontiers of Freedom Institute and Foundation (they have received $1,037,000 since 1998) which he serves as an Adjunct Fellow.

  148. dhogaza:

    We know both men are honorable scientists…

    Sorry, Jim, the evidence is strong that only one of those two is “honorable”, if you consider lying to be dishonorable, which I presume you do.

  149. Ray Ladbury:

    Re: 142. Sorry Jim, Can’t go there with you on Singer as a credible source. Anybody who takes Tobacco money to advocate that second hand smoke is not a hazard loses credibility in my book. His Oil industry conections also mitigate against his objectivity. One way to get a very conservative estimate of the effect of CO2 is to remove it from the models and look at the effect–an approach that leads to 12-15% contribution, and that neglects important feedbacks. Even Lindzen has never advocated anything less than ~6% for CO2–a number he’s never justified either by the way. I can only conclude that you and Singer live on the same planet–and it ain’t Earth.
    As far as solar influences go, you missed my point. The fact that the trend in the past 30 years has run counter to any solar trends suggests there must be something else going on–got any candidates other than anthropogenic ghg?

  150. David B. Benson:

    Martin Vermeer (143) — I agree that little is known about intraplate faults. However, ancient faults, thought to be inactive now, which break the surface leave evidence for the magnitude. I know of only two great faults thought to be associated with the deglaciation after LGM. As one of these is in a tectonically active area (Western Washington), I take this to be an interplate fault triggered by ice removal and isostactic rebound. The other, in northern Sweden, remains enigmatic.

    It seems improbable that a large portion of the Greenland ice sheet should melt in mere decades. Nonetheless, the possibility for a major or great earthquake exists in Greenland, at any time, since (no surprise) little is known about the geology there.

  151. Timothy Chase:

    Jim Cripwell,

    This is a kind of an addendum to 147. I would strongly recommend keeping in mind which organizations are being funded by Exxon (according to their own financial statements) to spread “science” which isn’t entirely on the up-and-up when it comes to climate change.

    I have already mentioned Heartland and how it has received $791,500 since 1998. A smaller player is the International Policy Network of North America. It has received only $390,000 since 1998.

    Likewise, when it comes to people who try to present themselves as experts on “global warming,” whether they have a PhD or not, if they are connected to two or more of these organizations, I would begin to wonder. And I would most especially wonder if they aren’t climatologists — and aren’t even in a related field.

    At this point Benny Peiser comes to mind.

    He belongs to the Heartland Institute (he is listed as an expert) and he also belongs to that Internation Policy Institute of North America (which has him as a contributing writer). He is a social anthropologist. And of course he is that fellow who in January of 2005 challenged the study in Nature based upon an analysis of 928 scientific abstracts for studies from 1993-2003, none challenged the scientific consensus on global warming.

    He conducted his own study of peer-reviewed papers and claimed that 34 rejected or doubted the consensus. Then in October of 2006, he admitted that there was only one paper in his study that actually doubted the consensus — published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists — and it was not peer-reviewed. Hardly neutral.

    Benny Peiser is of course also the editor of the Cambridge Conference Network that I mentioned previously. (Please see 125.)

    Now according to the webpage of the Cambridge Conference Network, it is devoted to disseminating “information” and “fostering debate” on “neo-catastrophism,” and it lists as its third example of neo-catastrophism climate change.

    Please see:

    CCNet is an electronic science network set up by Benny Peiser in 1997. Its aim is to disseminate information and foster debate about all aspects of “neo-catastrophism,” with particular focus on NEOs, the impact hazard and climate change.

    http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/CCNet-homepage.htm

    Likewise, it consists of a fair number of scholars. (Ibid.)

    I believe you are a member of CCNet.

    Please see:

    LETTERS

    6) GLOBAL WARMING: WHERE IS THE SCIENCE?
    F. James Cripwell

    Dear Benny,

    First thank you very much for posting my original query on the Internet. I understand from Albert Jacobs that it caused something of a stir, and you will be addressing the question on CCNet in the future. If this is true, maybe you might be interested in my observations….

    CCNet 60/06 – 7 April 2006
    OPEN KYOTO TO AN OPEN DEBATE
    http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/CCNet-07-04-06.htm

    Now given this, I assume that you received his notice back on the 8th of November about the CO2-belching benthic bacteria which I discussed earlier (e.g., 77, 110, and 125) in this thread. This being the case, could you tell me whether there was much discussion of it, that is, prior to everyone discovering it was a hoax?

  152. Rod B:

    My! My! My!

    Still determining credibility the old fashioned way:

    1) Does he/she agree with me? BUZZ!

    2) Does he/she associate with organizations I don’t like? BUZZ!

    Samole sameole. I suppose it will always be thus. I’m just pointing it out to keep the statute of limitations alive.

  153. Jim Cripwell:

    So many questions; so little time. Timothy, I took no notice whatsoever of the hoax, so I cant answer the question. I refuse to get into any discussion of where people get their money, and whether they are a mouthpiece for some organization or other. I am only concerned with the accuracy of scientific content. Credibility is ONLY in the science. Ray, since I dont know how the sun affects climate, I have no idea what trends are important. What matters is what is going to happen in the next few years. The proponents of AGW have done an absolutely magnificent PR campaign, where any unusual weather condition is claimed to be due to climate change; a code word in the mind’s of the general public for more CO2. Such as many hurricanes, little skiing in Europe, alleged increasing global temperatures, and lack of ice in the arctic. To date they have got away with it. In the end, the public will see that there is no connection between increased levels of CO2 and anything to do with “climate change”. My bet is that arctic ice will be the trigger; maybe because I live in Canada. When ice levels in the arctic return to 1985 levels, maybe the public will wake up. By the way, my cheques from the carbon lobby must have got lost in the mail.

  154. Ron Taylor:

    #153- ‘In the end, the public will see that there is no connection between increased levels of CO2 and anything to do with “climate change.”‘

    Wow. Can you possibly believe that? Please publish your work refuting just about everything known about climate science. I can’t wait to read it.

  155. spilgard:

    Re 153: How many iterations of “the next few years” will satisfy? Backing up in time to, say, the 1980s, one notes that temperatures are increasing with no corresponding correlation of solar activity.

    “since I dont know how the sun affects climate, I have no idea what trends are important. What matters is what is going to happen in the next few years.”

    Moving forward through one solar cycle, one again notes that temperatures are increasing with no corresponding correlation of solar activity.

    “since I dont know how the sun affects climate, I have no idea what trends are important. What matters is what is going to happen in the next few years.”

    Moving forward through another solar cycle, one again notes that temperatures are increasing with no corresponding correlation of solar activity.

    “since I dont know how the sun affects climate, I have no idea what trends are important. What matters is what is going to happen in the next few years.”

    Will one more solar cycle do it?

  156. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Jim Cripwell writes, inexplicably:

    [[In the end, the public will see that there is no connection between increased levels of CO2 and anything to do with “climate change”.]]

    How did you manage to realize something that 150 years of radiation physics and climatology missed? I’m impressed.

  157. Jim Cripwell:

    Ref 154. I have not published anything. I have merely read just about everything I can find on the subject of climate change. As I have noted many times, there is not one single scrap of hard, measured, independently replicated, experimental data that shows any connection between the recent alleged rise in average global temperatures, and the real rise in CO2 concentration. When I see that evidence, I may revise my opinion. I would note, once again, that if the experimental data existed, it would have been front and center for AR4 to WG1.

    [Response: Experiments are hard to do if you only have one planet. Replicating them is even harder! So despite abundant evidence that GHGs are increasing (Keeling et al, CDIAC etc.), that they are impacting radiation at the TOA and surface (Harries et al, 2001; Phillipona et al 2006), that temperature trends at the surface, lower troposphere and stratosphere are changing in ways consistent with GHG increases, that ocean heat content changes are happening at the same rate as the postulated radiative imbalance – you are still not happy. So, let me challenge you – what achievable observation will need to be made before you are convinced? Note, that if you ask for something impossible to achieve in practice in any short time period, logically you will have to rely on the same balance of evidence argument that IPCC uses, or at least profess agnosticism, rather than denial. – gavin]

  158. Jim Cripwell:

    Ref 155. Pretty well all solar cycles in the 20th century have had maximum sunspot numbers above average. This includes solar cycle 23. Originally solar cycle 24 was forecast (I believe by Dr. Hathaway) to start in April 2006, and have a maximum sunspot number of 180. When solar cycle 24 stubbonly refused to start, the forecast was revised, and the start was to be between September 2007 and September 2008, with maximum sunspot numbers of 120 and 90 rspectively. Solar cycle 24 has not yet started. When we know when it has started, we can guess what the maximum sunspot number is going to be. If we wait 6 or 7 years we will have measured it. If that number comes in below 50, which is looking more and more likely, we will not have seen the sun so quiet for about 300 years.

  159. Jim Galasyn:

    Jim Cripwell predicts:

    When ice levels in the arctic return to 1985 levels, maybe the public will wake up.

    Care to make a prediction about when that will occur?

  160. David B. Benson:

    Jim Cripwell — I recommend reading the AIP Discovery of Global Warming, linked in the Science section of the sidebar.

  161. Hank Roberts:

    Jim G, you can find Mr. Cripwell’s predictions with the search tool.

  162. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim Cripwell claims to have “read just about everything I can find on the subject of climate change.” Read everything and understood nothing. OK, Jim. Propose a study. What would it take to convince you. What is a study we could do with data available NOW that would drive a stake through the heart of your doubt? If there is no study you could propose that would convince you, then why should we call you a “skeptic” rather than a “denialist”? Where specifically do your doubts lie? It would seem that you accept that CO2 is a ghg (you claim “a very minor one”). Why do you think it is unimportant when all the evidence shows it 1)is second only to water, 2)has a much longer residence time than water, 3)correlates very well with temperature rise over long periods of geologic time?

  163. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod B. I do not think your characterization of the debate (#152) is at all fair. Certain organizations have established a track record of disemminating disinformation. They have taken funding from sources and industries that have a vested interest in such disinformation. Why should that not compromise their credibility? Like it or not, Rod, scientists establish a reputation. If they take money from questionable sources, their objectivity is in doubt. If they consistently make rash or incorrect statements, their credibility is questionable. It is hardly ad hominem attack to consider the track record of the source.

  164. Jim Galasyn:

    Hank, thanks for the 411 on Mr. Cripwell’s predictions, but the search tool seems to be broken, alas.

  165. Jim Galasyn:

    Re a possible Jim Cripwell study, we’ve had this discussion before. I’ve proposed that the contrarian community should explain how adding many gigatons of carbon to the atmosphere over a geologically short time period would not alter the planet’s climate.

  166. Jim Cripwell:

    Ref 157 and 162. Of course experimental data is hard to come by, but if you dont have any, all you have is a hypothesis. May be I am asking for the impossible, but then we would seem to be in similar position to string theory; which seems to be in deep trouble. If you are talking science, and you dont have any experimental data, you are building on shifting sand. So I turn the situation around. It seems to me that the IPCC needs to PROVE that what it has produced is a good enough substitute for a complete absence of hard data. (I have not seen where the IPCC has stated that there is no hard data.) If you can show me where this is published, I would love to read it. Many years ago, when I first heard that radiative forcing had been chosen as a measure for the greenhouse effectiveness of CO2, I was absolutley amazed, since it was clearly impossible ever to measure a value. And further, the other important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, water, could never even have a calculated value. No wonder I am not enamoured with what the IPCC has produced. I am simply against our politicians spending billions of dollars in trying to reduce CO2 levels, when there is no experimental data to support that this is a good idea. CO2 is not a pollutant, and in higher concentrations is very beneficial.

    [Response: You have a fundamental misconception here. Global radiative forcings are diagnostics, not measurements. They are supported by all sorts of experimental evidence – laboratory spectral analysis, field measurements of aerosol depth and particle size, direct observations of the sun etc. and some are easier to estimate than others. However, you have once again punted on the fundamental issue – if you don’t think the right observations are being made, what do you think should be measured and how? Blanket statements that higher CO2 is “very beneficial” have no credibility since you claim (erroneously however) that there is no evidence. – gavin]

  167. Rod B:

    Ray (163), other than populist rhetoric, why are Exxon and other fossil fuel enterprises “questionable”? Is a scientist who gets some expenses or even a stipend or consultancy fees paid by, say, Exxon, automatically assumed to have changed his scientific judgement to something he never discovered but is getting paid to say? I think not, but that is the inherent assumption behind much of the refuting of someone’s credibility here.

    Secondly, a scientist can be incorrect and still have credibility. But you say, “…If they consistently make rash or incorrect statements, their credibility is questionable.” I disagree (though “consistently rash” taken literally might be cause). Your statement is essentially what I said — “…disagree with me?” BUZZ!

  168. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim, I ask again. What “proof” are you looking for? You seem to have something specific in mind. What is it? Come up with an observation or a set of observations and a way of measuring it. Or if you cannot or will not, then you are a denialist, not a skeptic.

  169. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod B. At this point, any scientist who takes money from ExxMob is tainted, and it has nothing to do with populism. Rather, ExxMob has shown itself to be interested in subverting science. There is documentary evidence that ExxMob and other fossil fuel interests have deliberately subverted the science–and that makes them an enemy of science. Period.

  170. J.C.H.:

    This is one example of what ExxonMobil is doing now:

    http://gcep.stanford.edu/about/index.html

    “ExxonMobil scientists have undertaken climate change research and related policy analysis for 25 years and their work has produced more than 40 papers in peer-reviewed literature. In addition, our scientists participate in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and numerous related scientific bodies. …” – http://www2.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/energy_climate_views.aspx

  171. Timothy Chase:

    Exxon biggest role by far in climate science has been one of sowing disinformation in order to avoid doing anything about climate change.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists has documented this role in a recent paper, described here:

    Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco’s Tactics to “Manufacture Uncertainty” on Climate Change details how the oil company, like the tobacco industry in previous decades, has

    * raised doubts about even the most indisputable scientific evidence
    * funded an array of front organizations to create the appearance of a broad platform for a tight-knit group of vocal climate change contrarians who misrepresent peer-reviewed scientific findings
    * attempted to portray its opposition to action as a positive quest for “sound science” rather than business self-interest
    * used its access to the Bush administration to block federal policies and shape government communications on global warming

    Scientists’ Report Documents ExxonMobil’s Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science
    Oil Company Spent Nearly $16 Million to Fund Skeptic Groups, Create Confusion
    January 3, 2007
    http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/ExxonMobil-GlobalWarming-tobacco.html

    For those who are interested, the Union of Concerned Scientists document detailing Exxon’s behavior (a three-part pdf) may be downloaded there.

  172. Rod B:

    Ray, Timothy, JCH, You’re trying to refute my assertion by, in essence, repeating it, thereby validating it, not refuting it. Ray, I’d be interested in specific examples of where Exxon “subverted the science”, bearing in mind that, as hard as it might be to swallow, disagreeing with your view is not subversive. I’m not sure what JCH was trying to show (maybe it went right past me — sorry if so), but his references show anything but subversive and describe what ought to be viewed as supportive, of all things.

    I hate to bring this up again, Timothy, but anything that is titled “….. just like big [bad] tobacco companies….” can be nothing but a screed and not worth looking at from a scientific viewpoint. The rest of your examples is just as I said: they’re big and bad because they believe something you don’t — which, to repeat, was my point exactly. I know, the retort is ‘they’re bad because they are wrong’, but that is just a facade for ‘they are heretics’.

    As I have asked before, how did Exxon get on the IPCC??? Did the UN administrators want to insure balance by having a few liars on the committee? Or what?

  173. Chuck Booth:

    Re # 166 Jim Cripwell: “CO2 is not a pollutant, and in higher concentrations is very beneficial.”
    Tell that to the families of the 1700 people who died from a toxic cloud of CO2 that erupted from Lake Nyos in 1986:
    “Pathological studies indicated that victims rapidly lost consciousness and died of CO2 asphyxiation (CO2 concentrations above about 10% can be lethal). There was no evidence for chemical burns on victims or survivors as would be expected from volcanic sulfur gases. However, the skin lesions were in fact attributable to some combination of the following: (1) exposure to a direct heat source such as a cooking fire, (2) pressure sores from prolonged lying in a fixed position, (3) postmortem decomposition, and (4) sores that predated the event. Observed skin blisters were associated with extended unconsciousness, similar to symptoms found in comatose drug overdose patients.”
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~gwk/research/nyos.html

  174. Rod B:

    Chuck (173), you’re being pedantic and avoiding the point (which may be right or wrong). Everything is toxic in enough concentration, including oxygen and water.

  175. Timothy Chase:

    Rod B. (172) wrote:

    Ray, Timothy, JCH, You’re trying to refute my assertion by, in essence, repeating it, thereby validating it, not refuting it. Ray, I’d be interested in specific examples of where Exxon “subverted the science”, bearing in mind that, as hard as it might be to swallow, disagreeing with your view is not subversive….

    I hate to bring this up again, Timothy, but anything that is titled “….. just like big [bad] tobacco companies….” can be nothing but a screed and not worth looking at from a scientific viewpoint.

    I wasn’t responding to you, well, not specifically at least, but as you wish…

    The title of the article by the Union of Concerned Scientists is Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco’s Tactics to “Manufacture Uncertainty” on Climate Change, and it isn’t primarily a scientific paper, but an article documenting the attempts by ExxonMobil to interfere with the actual practice of science and to diminish the role of science in national and international policies on issues that are of concern to us all. And as the authors of the piece point out, the science was already done in the vast body of literature that was referenced in the IPCC 2001 report.

    But out of curiosity, why do you think it is problematic comparing Exxon to tobacco companies? I assume you would extend Phillip Morris the same limitless benefit of a doubt you are currently granting Exxon, wouldn’t you? And if not, why not?

    Rod B. (172) wrote:

    The rest of your examples is just as I said: they’re big and bad because they believe something you don’t — which, to repeat, was my point exactly. I know, the retort is ‘they’re bad because they are wrong’, but that is just a facade for ‘they are heretics’.

    As Gavin points out in the inline to 142, Fred Singer’s claim that carbon dioxide is responsible for only 2% of the greenhouse effect has no scientific basis. Singer doesn’t even attempt to defend the figure that he gives, but merely throws it out even though there is a great deal of evidence to the contrary. Doing so shows either an incredible lack of familiarity with the current state of climatology and no understanding of the nature of science or a great deal of dishonesty. But I doubt it is the former as he is a climatologist.

    With respect to Benny Peiser, I wrote in 151:

    He belongs to the Heartland Institute (he is listed as an expert) and he also belongs to that Internation Policy Institute of North America (which has him as a contributing writer). He is a social anthropologist. And of course he is that fellow who in January of 2005 challenged the study in Nature based upon an analysis of 928 scientific abstracts for studies from 1993-2003, none challenged the scientific consensus on global warming.

    He conducted his own study of peer-reviewed papers and claimed that 34 rejected or doubted the consensus. Then in October of 2006, he admitted that there was only one paper in his study that actually doubted the consensus — published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists — and it was not peer-reviewed. Hardly neutral.

    Now either Benny Peiser has difficulty counting and is unfamiliar with the term peer-reviewed or he is dishonest. But I doubt it is the former as he has a PhD and specializes in Social Anthropology.

    Now as Gavin Schmidt states,

    So why do the contrarians still use arguments that are blatantly false? I think the most obvious reason is that they are simply not interested (as a whole) in providing a coherent counter story. If science has one overriding principle, it is that you should adjust your thinking in the light of new information and discoveries – the contrarians continued use of old, tired and discredited arguments demonstrates their divorce from the scientific process more clearly than any densely argued rebuttal.

    BBC contrarian top 10
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/bbc-contrarian-top-10

    Much of the actual climate science is well-established although always open to continued refinement. Likewise, it is well-established that the opinions held by many of the contrarians are immune to the evidence and are therefore no longer scientific. So at this point, it is valid to move from the task of the identification of reality per se to the identification and evaluation of motives. The role played by Exxon in financing attacks upon established science is well known. The strategy is well-documented – by Exxon itself – and the images of several of those documents are included in the piece by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    As I have asked before, how did Exxon get on the IPCC??? Did the UN administrators want to insure balance by having a few liars on the committee? Or what?

    Basically, yes.

    They want to demonstrate that they are “balanced” and “open to all views.” That, it would appear, is why Christy was brought in. Meanwhile, Exxon probably wants a little good publicity for a change and the ability to influence the process and perhaps confer respectability upon a few scientists who lost all respectability some time ago.

    However, even Greenpeace wants to see Exxon brought into the process. Oddly enough, they seem to think that Exxon has a productive role to play once it gives up the games of manipulation. I hope they are right.

    Judging from the words of Exxon’s CEO, they realize global warming is a serious issue:

    While paid “independent” sources continue to dispute human-caused global warming, ExxonMobil has changed its tune. ExxonMobil’s own Web site features a recent speech in London by Chairman and CEO Rex W. Tillerson. According to the Web site, “Tillerson spoke with conviction about global warming and ExxonMobil’s continuing efforts on this issue.”

    He concluded his remarks by saying: “Frankly, this conversation is not so much about us as it is about our grandchildren. Indeed, we cannot yet see our grandchildren’s world, its economy or its climate. But we must care about it. We must care enough to take the risks of global poverty and global warming seriously.”

    Even ExxonMobil acknowledges warming risk
    Diana Christopulos
    Tuesday, November 13, 2007
    http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/commentary/wb/139539

    … but last I knew, they are continuing to fund “contrarian” organizations.

  176. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, any scientist who adopts a position in contravention of the evidence has ceased to be a scientist. Any organization that tries to inject a position in contravention of the evidence has become anti-science. All of the evidence either supports anthropogenic causation of the current warming epoch or is ambiguous. There is zero evidence that supports any other cause. When a scientist quits looking at the evidence, the opinion of that scientist held by the scientific community is bound to suffer. Scientific consensus is not based on popularity of a position but rather on the evidence. It would be much more convenient for me if we were not the cause of the warming we are seeing. However, I am a scientist, so I have to go with the evidence.
    ExxMob has funded denialist organizations and scientists. They have distorted the evidence and played up uncertainty in the public mind. Once a scientist or organization has opposed science to this extent, they are always suspect. Abandoning science for private gain is unforgivable.

  177. Philippe Chantreau:

    Rod is smoking again. I can not fathom what it is you’re trying to hold on to there, Rod. The evidence against smoking is so clear, so abundant and so irrefutable that it is difficult for me to understand what you are trying to achieve by referring to it. Thank you for smoking…

  178. Rod B:

    I’m forced to sound like a broken record, but Ray, what you describe (176) is exactly what I said. ‘If someone disagrees with my belief he is not allowed at the table.’ Of course you justify the acceptance of that position by assuming that your belief is absolutely correct and beyond question… so if one tries to question it they cannot play. Sorry, but you are describing a religion, and a bigoted one [is there another kind, I wonder???] at that, not a scientific discourse — though in very well written terms. This is true even if you prove to be 100% correct. It’s the process of, say, insisting that absolutely no contravening thought will ever be allowed to be uttered that makes it a religion. And woe be to any enterprise who offers to fund such heretics.

    Timothy’s still riding the same wave, though is a little more adept around the fuzzy fringes. (To spread the compliments fairly, Ray’s good at hitting it square on [;-) Of course I give Phillip Morris its day in court. And a benefit of the doubt; but “limitless”? Of course not. You imply P-M does not deserve a day in (non-kangeroo) court because the evidence is in and concluded, and say that AGW skeptics certainly do not. This puts it all back in the previous paragraph IMO.

    And man!, do I hate to use P-M as an analogy. These days any mention of tobacco in any form outside of the context of the devil incarnate can get you hurt… Crossing religion is dangerous business.

  179. Ray Ladbury:

    Wow, Rod, that’s a really interesting paraphrase of what I said. If you will go back to said missive, you will find the word EVIDENCE used 7 times, while in your paraphrase it is not even alluded to, let alone used. Rod, people do not believe we are changing the climate because they WANT to. They believe it because all the evidence says so. And we as scientists have said we will support the theory best supported by the evidence. In science, evidence has to be submitted for review by the scientific community in peer-reviewed scientific journals. How cogent is the evidence for anthropogenic climate change? Well, there are basically no scientific papers being published now in peer-reviewed climate journals that do not accept it. There is not one single professional scientific society that questions causation of the current warming epoch by anthropogenic ghg–even the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG). Think a minute about that, Rod. The AAPG had to soften its position to neutral–the evidence is that strong.
    So the science that says we are causing the changes we are seeing is quite cogent. There is less consensus on what the worst-case effects will be and on what to do about it. These are still areas where dissenting views can–and indeed should–play a constructive role.
    But Rod, all you do by characterizing the current consensus as “religion” is demonstrate that you understand neither science nor religion.

  180. Rod B:

    Ray, I simply said you believe it. I didn’t say I thought you made it up or dreamt it. You can believe it based on physical evidence. “Believing” by itself does not make it like a bigoted religion. It is the attempt to squelch by any means what-so-ever anyone who even whispers a contravening word, as one characteristic that puts it in the religious realm. I’ve seen some who say us skeptics should be tried. convicted, and jailed for our skepticism. Kinda reminds me of middle-ages plus Christianity. (Now to be fair, that wasn’t suggested by “mainstream” proponents, but proponents who billed themselves with a science bent none-the-less.)

    I’m curious: do we no longer want the AAPG stifled?

  181. Philippe Chantreau:

    Rod: “These days any mention of tobacco in any form outside of the context of the devil incarnate can get you hurt.”
    Kind of funny, considering that consuming tobacco in any form can get you hurt…

  182. Hank Roberts:

    > do we no longer want the AAPG stifled?

    Rod, you just asked “have you quit beating your wife?”

    Again. Please stop.

  183. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Rod posts:

    [[It is the attempt to squelch by any means what-so-ever anyone who even whispers a contravening word, as one characteristic that puts it in the religious realm.]]

    The religious people I know are nothing like this caricature.

    [[ I’ve seen some who say us skeptics should be tried. convicted, and jailed for our skepticism.]]

    There are crackpots everywhere. Do you really think even a substantial minority of AGW proponents believe this?

    [[ Kinda reminds me of middle-ages plus Christianity.]]

    What do you know about Christianity in the middle ages? Most of what people think they know was created out of whole cloth by people like Andrew Dickson White (“The History of the Warfare between Science and Religion in Christendom”). It was actually the Christian philosophers of the middle ages, people like Nicolas Oresme and Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon and Robert Grossteste, who laid the foundations for modern empirical science.

  184. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, I can’t decide whether you really believe this crap or whether you’re just being argumentative. First, we are talking SCIENTIFIC BELIEF, Rod, which means that you adopt the position with the preponderance of evidence. If you are a scientist, you pretty much have to adopt this position as your working hypothesis when the evidence becomes overwhelming–and when the AAPG adopts a neutral position, I’d say we’re there. This does not mean you cannot continue to look for information that would undermine that theory–all scientists are doing this all the time. However, when you take your views to the press; when you distort the consensus position to the uneducated laymen; when you knowingly make false statements to distort the situation; when you do these things you have turned your back on science, and you no longer deserve to call yourself a scientist. And when you take money to do so, you are beneath contempt. ExxMob has been a ready source of such money, as well as money for mouthpieces that amplify the voices of contrarians and kooks.
    Rod, the only scientific questions left to answer deal with how bad things may get–and there’s room for constructive debate there. But the basic theory of climate change is settled, simply because there is no credible alternative.
    And on the political front, the debate over what to do is wide open. Answers ranging from “do nothing” to “stop consuming coal now!” are not insupportable.
    BTW, Rod, I strongly recommend looking into the scientific method–both it’s early history alluded to by BPL and its current form, which is much richer than even Galileo could have envisioned. It is not only interesting, but highly edifying.

  185. SecularAnimist:

    Ray Ladbury wrote: “Rod, I can’t decide whether you really believe this crap or whether you’re just being argumentative.”

    Rod shows every sign of being a “troll”, ie. an individual who “trolls” for responses by deliberately posting outrageous, offensive and/or inflammatory comments on Usenet forums or blog comment pages (from the term used in fishing, to “troll” for fish by dragging a hooked bait through the water).

    Typically, “trolls” are “just being argumentative” — they post provocative comments and respond to substantive rebuttals by ignoring them or misrepresenting them — and their purpose is basically to impress themselves with their ability to waste people’s time.

    It’s sad, really. What is sadder though, is the people who have much better, more rewarding, and more productive things to do with their time, who get “suckered” into wasting their time writing lengthy, thoughtful responses to “trolls” who don’t care and don’t deserve them. I have all too often fallen victim to trolls myself and always bitterly regret the waste of precious time on them, once I realize what has happened.

  186. Ray Ladbury:

    Secular, I do not view refining my arguments as a waste of time. I’ve met more than a few (all of whom vote) who share some of his opinions. In any case, Rod’s learning curve has shown a positive slope in the past, so I don’t think he is just a troll. Ultimately, I believe in democracy, and I believe that if democracy is to work, the intelligent people have to come together in the middle, as the extremes rarely have the answer. That means it is to my advantage for Rod to have an educated opinion. Even if it is not an opinion I share, I am more likely to be able to compromise with a reasoned opinion than with an irrational one. And if my arguments don’t work with Rod, the ones I refine on him may work for others.

  187. Rod B:

    Philippe Chantreau (181) Says:
    18 November 2007 at 2:32 AM
    Rod: “These days any mention of tobacco in any form outside of the context of the devil incarnate can get you hurt.”
    Kind of funny, considering that consuming tobacco in any form can get you hurt…

    Yes, true. But in one case it’s my doing, in the other someone is “graciously” doing it to me.

  188. Rod B:

    Barton (183), I pretty much agree with what you say and, if you read my words literally, didn’t disagree in my previous posts. Without denying religion’s contribution to science that you mention, I was referring to the hanging, torturing, burning and massacring of the disbelievers sanctioned and carried out by the Church.

    Ray, you continue to say that you’re justified in squelching because you are “correct” and they are not. I’ll understand your maintaining that position and disagreeing with my contentions because we can’t keep going back and forth repeating the same things — with that you probably agree with me. [;-)

    Though SecularAnimist (185) kinda proves my point. In one remote way I can concur: many of my posts are somewhat off the science and topic at hand, and directed at the process and demeanor. But, I do not start it. I simply respond to other’s “outrageous, offensive and/or inflammatory comments” as you so eloquently put it. I simply point out the outrageousness and incorrectness as I objectively see them — as I (and a few others) have said before, in part and in some small way to help the proponents out: by suggesting if you want to convince people of something you shouldn’t act like a dork and inflame the passions of the folks you’re trying to help.

    I’m not sure why outrageous people always see others as outrageous.

  189. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, you are missing my point. A scientist who, by becoming a scientist, has agreed to abide by the evidence and then goes against that agreement has ceased to be a scientist. Moreover, if this is done for remuneration, it is beneath contempt. Dissent is one thing. John Christy is still within the fold because he still publishes and does not completely ignore the evidence (although the recent WSJ opinion piece comes dangerously close to doing “science by press”). Richard Lindzen is not, because he parrots points he knows to be false just to score points in a debate and hasn’t published anything relevant in years. Benny Peiser’s critique of Naomi Oreskes’s survey was rejected not because it questioned Oreskes’s conclusions or even on its merits, but rather because he chose to leak it before it was published.
    Do you see my point, Rod? The outrage here has to do with scientists acting counter to the way scientists are supposed to do things–not to their opinions.
    If you go back and look at the history of the scientific method, one of its basic tenets is that a human being can never be certain that he or she is right. However, by going with the preponderance of evidence, even when it goes against your interests or desires, you will be right more often than not. We’ve tried that for nearly 400 years now, and it has worked amazingly well. It’s not metaphysics, but rather epistemology.

  190. Rod B:

    Ray (189), when taken as a general rough principle your thought — “…A scientist who, by becoming a scientist, has agreed to abide by the evidence and then goes against that agreement has ceased to be a scientist.” — has a decent ring to it. But if taken literally and to its scientific end, it, in fact, moves science into religion! I don’t know if you read what you said or if you meant to say it,… but you said if a man joins the science club and questions what 1) almost every club member believes and 2) is supported by the preponderance of evidence to date, ‘he can not be a member of the club!, because he doesn’t repeat the litany and liturgy. You have just banished from science many of the great scientific discoveries, certainly most of the paradigm shifts. Certainly you are aware of past scientific/philosophical doctrine supported by nearly all in the field and by the preponderance, in some cases the entirety, of the evidence at that time that proved to be flat-out wrong. It was eventually revised usually by some enterprising (and probably viewed as weird) young scientist working pretty much marching to his own beat. By your words he would have been banished from the get-go. Now I don’t know what that is, but it ain’t the scientific method.

    I do get your point, and it is as I have said all along. If someone disagrees with your well thought out beliefs supported by tons of evidence that ‘any idiot ought to recognize’, he can not be a member of the club! That’s how you discard out-of-hand, for example, one of the premier climatologists, Lindzen.

    You say, “…However, by going with the preponderance of evidence, even when it goes against your interests or desires, you will be right more often than not.”

    …And never discover anything new or advance the science one iota….

    BTW, I’m using “you” and “your” in the generic 3rd-person. While you may be part of the group you absolutely are not alone and I’m not meaning to personalize this in any way, other than a concept.

  191. Timothy Chase:

    Rod B (190) wrote:

    Ray (189), when taken as a general rough principle your thought — “…A scientist who, by becoming a scientist, has agreed to abide by the evidence and then goes against that agreement has ceased to be a scientist.” — has a decent ring to it. But if taken literally and to its scientific end, it, in fact, moves science into religion! I don’t know if you read what you said or if you meant to say it,… but you said if a man joins the science club and questions what 1) almost every club member believes and 2) is supported by the preponderance of evidence to date.

    Rod, where are you getting the bolded bit out what you were responding to? I don’t see Ray Ladbury saying “almost every club member believes” or “to date.” They don’t seem to be implicit, either. Both of these bits appear to have been inserted – and on first glance seem to play an important role in your attempt to respond to him. But if they aren’t either stated or implicit in what he wrote, you aren’t actually responding to him, are you?

    One other question: In your view, is one ever justified in concluding that someone is being dishonest?

  192. Rod B:

    a ps to my 190: I do feel obligated to be fair and balanced. There are situations where Ray’s contention is valid. There certainly can be (and are) guys who are not much more than smart-alec rabble rousers and who “join” the science club but do not much more than talk loud and kick sand around. Ray’s response is this situation is probably O.K. and acceptable, though those cranks will usually crash and burn entirely on their own.

    The rub is: one has to be extremely careful in deciding who the cranks are; there is a very fine line between the crank and the individualistic innovator. Without due diligence and caution the tendency is to put everyone with a deviant opinion into the rabble rouser group. That is done a lot here, and is usually wrong.

    None-the-less, those smart-asses do exist.

  193. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, you are missing the point. The objection is not to the dissent. Einsten dissented from the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics to his dying breath–but he never crossed the line of doing science by press and taking his advocacy to uneducated laymen. He could have since the strangeness of quantum theory would have gone against “common sense”. Science is perfectly capable of going around a “crank,” and if the crank is capable of getting evidence that overturns the consensus, then indeed he or she becomes a hero.
    The problem comes when a “scientist” turns his or her back on the normal scientific method and rather than publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals, publishes in the press where the audience is not educated enough to understand the science. If they further use deceptive practices (e.g. Mars/Neptune/Jupiter is warming too), they have gone beyond the point of redemption. And if they take money for doing so, there is no hope. So that is why Christy is still considered “a scientist” even if just barely after his recent rants in the WSJ, why Richard Lindzen has left the fold and why Steve Milloy (or Crichton) never was a scientist.

  194. Rod B:

    Timothy, who can possibly authoritatively declare someone is “no longer a scientist” (a membe of the science club) other than the main body (“almost every member”) of the club????

    I’m not sure what you are questioning with the “to date” in evidence to date. Is there any other kind?

  195. Philippe Chantreau:

    Re 187: Unless of course, you are exposed to second hand smoke (that’s part of “any form”), in which case somebody is really doing it to you…

  196. Hank Roberts:

    > in one case it’s my doing, in the other someone is
    > “graciously” doing it to me.

    Rod, you’re channeling the arguments against second-hand smoke, which Lindzen often makes (and which are well funded by the industries in denial). That’s both the tobacco and fossil fuel industries. Both externalized significant costs, both opposed and undermined good scientific work for decades as those costs began to be understood.

    Science is what science does. Doing the work, the writing up and the defense of the thesis, getting a degree, succeeding with iterative peer review to the point where work is publishable and published, and having that work cited by later researchers is the work people do to be called scientists. Operational definition, not anointing, not club membership.

    This is why you see the confusion by people attacking Darwin’s work, they think science is something built on people, ‘founded’ like religion. It’s not.

    People aren’t “scientific experts” outside their own area of research nor on anything they can’t replicate in their own work.

    This is just smoke and mirrors, confusing science with political PR.

    Yes, people are telling you that your secondhand smoke is a problem you’re creating and externalizing and denying.

    Yes, you can look this up. Once you know you’re responsible for something that happens to others, either you take responsibility for it, or you deny it.

    Your choice.

  197. Rod B:

    Ray (193), you make an excellent point. However, for better or worse, AGW has been highly politicized and you can’t fully blame antagonists for playing the politics any more than you can blame the protagonists, who also (have to) play the politics.

  198. Rod B:

    Philippe (195), do you really want to rehash this debate about tobacco???

  199. Rod B:

    Jeeeze! Hank, too?!? I’ll let the tobacco thing sit for now (unless you guys insist I go through it one more time) in deference to the other posters.

    But, using it as an analogy to the AGW debate is fair game and my (only) point. I would agree with Hank’s description of “science”. Up to the point where you imply that all those scientists don’t form clubs, play politics, or act distinctly unkindly and malicious toward other scientists. You have zero proof of the latter.

  200. Hank Roberts:

    Scientists are only experts in their own specific area of study.

    I think Timothy’s reaching too far in trying to define “scientist” as anything beyond “person whose work is found to be science, over the longer term” — someone’s a scientist to that extent.

    It’s not like religion. It’s not like electoral politics. It’s a behavior defined by consequences.

    People get wonky outside their areas of expertise, where they lack peer review and the need to respond to it. People get old and weird. Sh*t happens.

    Point to the work and how it’s held up. Outside the work, people are people and have opinions not based on their own expertise.

  201. Philippe Chantreau:

    Re 198: There is no debate. That you believe otherwise (if you really do) is rather comical. You have nothing to go through but industry created talking points.

    The only thing rehashed is that most amusing tobacco denialism argumentation, of which you’re not even an original author. They should have copyright for this stuff, it would prevent it from being so widely used. The copyright should extend to the application of similar arguments to other fields, that would save RC a lot of time addressing pathetic nonsense.

    Here is another one of the countless examples, which you will probably discount with the usual, well, stuff:
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-04/uoc–sps032603.php

    Now I will drop that subject since I doubt that the patience of the RC folks will extend beyond posting this (if it even goes that far). However, I do recommend all to take a look at the link. Boy am I glad I quit some years ago…

  202. ray ladbury:

    Rod, What scientist has lied in trying to sound the alarm about climate change? What scientist has politicized the process? Yes, there have been some who have emphasized that the potential impact goes beyond where we currently have consensus–but they did not go AGAINST the evidence. They did not distort the science. They did not bypass peer-reviewed journals and go directly to newspapers and the public. Now perhaps some have implied that particular events, such as Katrina, could be harbingers of what is to come, but most in the science community distanced themselves from such sentiments.
    On the other hand, from the denialists, we have distortion of the science, doing science by press and outright lies. Really, Rod, I don’t see how you can compare the two camps–all the evidence is on one side. That means they don’t have to lie.

  203. Rod B:

    Philippe (201): “…The only thing rehashed is that most amusing tobacco denialism argumentation, of which you’re not even an original author.”

    It probably matters not, but I have no idea of which you speak…

    “…Boy am I glad I quit some years ago…”

    So am I.

  204. Timothy Chase:

    Hank Roberts (#200) wrote:

    Scientists are only experts in their own specific area of study.

    I think Timothy’s reaching too far in trying to define “scientist” as anything beyond “person whose work is found to be science, over the longer term” — someone’s a scientist to that extent.

    It’s not like religion. It’s not like electoral politics. It’s a behavior defined by consequences.

    Hank, I believe that what you are responding to was actually written by Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, you are missing my point. A scientist who, by becoming a scientist, has agreed to abide by the evidence and then goes against that agreement has ceased to be a scientist.

    – Ray Ladbury, 189

    However, as I understand it, this is something that I agree with, so I will respond.

    We of course do not view the scientific community as some sort of monolithic organization like the Catholic Church. We do not regard scientists as taking a formal oath upon becoming scientists.

    Our focus begins as a recognition of the fact that there is a certain normativity involved in being a scientist. However, this is primarily a matter of personal ethics — one of personal integrity — although it goes deeper. It isn’t simply a matter of honesty but of objectivity — although it involves both in roughly equal measure.

    Secondarily, it is up to each individual within the scientific community to judge other scientists in accordance with these two standards. However, such judgment is once again principally an individual matter. The scientific community is afterall decentralized and loosely defined. And being decentralized, different individuals make come to different conclusions as to whether or not other scientists uphold such standards in their personal work.

    Now more broadly, there is also the matter of a consensus. However, this is largely tacit — except of course to the extent that various organizations may wish to make formalized statements as to what positions they acknowledge as being part of that consensus. But once again, this is decentralized as different organizations may take different positions.

    However, I would also state that when they take such positions they should do so with great care that what they take those positions to be should be should consist of points for which they regard there as being overwhelming evidence — and they should do so only the the face of a concerted attack upon the scientific enterprise itself, one which is motivate by ideological, political or financial gain.

    I suspect that you are in agreement with all of these points. You seem to acknowledge much the same sort of thing when you state:

    It’s a behavior defined by consequences.

    … at least assuming you mean that the consequences will include other scientists judging the work of those scientists who are clearly not living up to the standards.

    However, even then, the scientific enterprise is not itself dependent so much upon the personal ethics of each and every individual within the scientific community. A tacit consensus is usually enough to work around individuals who do not live up to those standards.

    Incidentally, although the consequences may not be as great, I also believe that the same standards follow simply from the fact that we are human.

  205. Rod B:

    Come on, Ray (202). I suspect you are over reacting to your inference that anyone who is politic is bad and certainly then can’t include any of the AGW proponents. Being politic is not (always/usually) bad. It is just something that is a fact of life and as certain as the sunrise for many fields and scenarios. AGW happens to be one. But you assert that the politicking (e.g. Hanson’s Congressional testimony as one teeny example in an ocean) done by the proponents is not really politicking because they are correct. Well that’s just wrong, defining politicking to suit your needs, and contrary to any standard. (Like the government redefined “addiction” to suit its needs. ….. (Oh! Damn! Sorry! Uncontrollable.)) What you did was bring my original contention full circle (again) and (I really hate to repeat ’cause I know you’re getting tired of it), bottom line, say the antagonists cannot play because they disagree with (the generic) me and all I know to be true and holy. (Forget “holy; just a figure of speech…) I know you don’t see it that way; but that’s because “you are correct” and they are not. Same, Same!

    Your point that I may be including too many outliers in the science community might have merit. I’ll have to contemplate that for a bit.

    Do you think Lindzen, e.g., is consciously and deliberately presenting analyses and stuff that he knows to be false? Or is his publishing non-peer reviewed articles so far off the scientific chart that it has no redeeming or scientific value at all? If so, would the same be true of protagonists?

  206. Timothy Chase:

    Rob B (194) wrote:

    Timothy, who can possibly authoritatively declare someone is “no longer a scientist” (a membe of the science club) other than the main body (”almost every member”) of the club????

    As I understand “no longer a scientist,” Ray is speaking primarily with regard to personal ethics as judged by the individual scientist. Secondly, he is speaking of personal ethics in terms of how other scientists judge the behavior of scientists who appear behave with lack of integrity with regard to his work. For a fuller statement of what I believe, please see 200.

    Rob B (194) wrote:

    I’m not sure what you are questioning with the “to date” in evidence to date. Is there any other kind?

    If by “to date,” you mean as judged by the scientific community as a whole acting as some sort of monolithic organization (which would appear to be what you are suggesting: see 190), then I do not believe that this is what Ray is stating (189) and I do not see how you could interpret this as being implicit in what he stated. If by “to date” you mean as judged by individual scientists — with the understanding that there will be honest matters of disagreement, then I do not understand how you could honestly take any other view.

    However, you still did not answer my final question in 191:

    In your view, is one ever justified in concluding that someone is being dishonest?

  207. Hank Roberts:

    Rod, are you up to date on what the Contributors at RC have written specifically about Lindzen’s work? That would be a good place to start (the Search box will find the threads with his name in them.)

  208. Timothy Chase:

    Correction to 206

    Where I state, “For a fuller statement of what I believe, please see 200,” the post that I should have referenced was 204.

  209. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, It is rather astounding to me that you equate science and politics. Yes, science is political–politics is just the activity by which groups of people (polis) accomplish things. However, as with all communities, the scientific community has norms that are expected of its members. For scientists, the most important of those norms have to do with evidence–what constitutes evidence, where and how it is presented, how to interpret it, etc. If you violate these norms, your reputation within the community suffers–other scientists question your judgement, your scruples or your “objectivity” (more on this later). If your violations are sufficiently serious–e.g. falsifying data, or repeatedly distorting data, publishing by press, etc., then you cease to be a scientist. What that means is that other scientists cease to take you as serious and credible. You may be dismissed as a paid shill (e.g. Milloy), a self-promoter, a flake or a crank. Interestingly, this exile may be partial–Einstein’s opinions on physics were still taken seriously up to his death, as long as they didn’t have to do with the indeterminacy of quantum theory.
    Rod, in my posts, you will notice that I keep coming back to the importance of evidence. It is central to science. A scientist is judged by his skill at gathering it, at interpreting it, and–perhaps most important–at putting aside his or her personal agenda when the evidence conflicts with it. And it is very important to realize that in science, evidence has to be interpreted by the experts–the ones who have experience trying to understand evidence in that field. You write a paper. It is given to experts who decide whether it is of sufficient evidence to be considered by the community as a whole (peer review). If so, then the entire interested community judges whether the paper is correct and important. So, the community decides in your favor. Do you stop there? No. Even if the evidence favors you, you keep doing more tests and looking for more evidence even though the new test/evidence may overturn your opinion/hypothesis/model. At some point, however, some aspects of a particular model have so much evidence behind them, that one is confident that even as the model changes, the new model will look the more or less the same in terms of those aspects. That’s where we are in terms of CO2 forcing for climate models.
    So, yes, science is political as is any other human activity. What separates it from other human activities is that it works extremely well–and the reason it works extremely well is because of the norms it imposes with regard to evidence, etc. Your ability to function as a science depends on your ability to abide by those norms. More important, the continued success of science depends on scientists following them. So, when a “scientist” violates them, the community is bound to judge him or her harshly.

  210. Rod B:

    Timothy, et al: “…is one ever justified in concluding that someone is being dishonest?”

    Naturally and of course. My concern is the ease and low bar that some have to make that conclusion. Ray said that a scientist who [joins the club] who is fully aware of the evidence [to date — I’m still don’t grasp your concern with this phrase…] and, as Ray also said, “…agreed to abide by the evidence…” and now is espousing something not in sync with the evidence is no longer eligible for membership in the fraternity of scientists — clearly implying dishonest. In fact worse than contemptible if he also has a job that pays him for his endeavors. I think this is the crux of our discussion, is way over the line and essentially defines dishonesty as disagreement.

    So, again, yes, people and scientists can be declared dishonest and, further, be treated accordingly. But to be declared dishonest, he must be in fact dishonest with a high standard of determination or proof. BTW, without this, one could easily be charged with libel (though likely not convicted because of the public nature of the debate and people.)

    Hank (207), I’m generally aware of many/some of the Lindzen comments, but have not done a recent detailed review of such. I’m not getting your implication.

  211. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Rod posts:

    [[Do you think Lindzen, e.g., is consciously and deliberately presenting analyses and stuff that he knows to be false?]]

    Is Lindzen one of those repeating the “global warming stopped in 1998″ line? If so, then, yes, he is deliberately presenting analyses and stuff that he knows to be false.

  212. Alastair McDonald:

    You can read Lindzen’s latest thinking here: http://www.volny.cz/lumidek/iris-effect.pdf I don’t think that you will find any claim that global warming stopped 1998 there.

    However, he is arguing that the tropics will not warm due to the increase in CO2, which may be true. But it is not the tropics where I live, and the main warming seems to be most apparent in the Arctic!

  213. Timothy Chase:

    Rod B (#210) wrote:

    Timothy, et al: “…is one ever justified in concluding that someone is being dishonest?”

    Naturally and of course [not]. My concern is the ease and low bar that some have to make that conclusion. Ray said that a scientist who [joins the club] who is fully aware of the evidence [to date — I’m still don’t grasp your concern with this phrase…] and, as Ray also said, “…agreed to abide by the evidence…” and now is espousing something not in sync with the evidence is no longer eligible for membership in the fraternity of scientists…

    Thank you for responding to that question.

    With regard to your phrase “membership in the fraternity of scientists,” I believe you are still misrepresenting Ray’s argument as what he is primarily refering to is primarily episteomological and ethical, not membership in some fraternity. And I believe he is right. “Scientist” is derived from the latin “scientia” meaning “knowledge.” A scientist is someone who knows, and in their capacity as a scientist places no political, ideological or fanancial concern above their quest form knowledge. A scientist who places politics above science is no longer acting as a scientist.

    Regarding Lindzen

    You state, “My concern is the ease and low bar that some have to make that conclusion,” then bring up the example of Lindzen — who you admit that you haven’t researched that thoroughly. So let’s turn to him.

    I would like to call your attention to an essay by Lindzen from 2007 and an analysis of it by Gavin Schimdt and Mike Mann — as this is something which you yourself could look up at this website if you are genuinely interested in Lindzen’s honesty. However, before getting to the RealClimate analysis, I will begin with two sentences from Lindzen’s piece and analyze them for myself – so as to show you that Gavin and Mike aren’t simply picking apart the worst parts.

    Lindzen states:

    Looking back on the earth’s climate history, it’s apparent that there’s no such thing as an optimal temperature—a climate at which everything is just right. The current alarm rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise, but also that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman’s forecast for next week.

    By Richard S. Lindzen
    Special to Newsweek
    April 16, 2007 issue
    http://web.archive.org/web/20070415102103/http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17997788/site/newsweek

    When he states, “The current alarm rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise,” this is clearly a strawman argument. We know that the current Holocene era of the past 10,000 years has been particularly stable compared to past eras, that this is the time during which humans developed agriculture and that human civilization arose. We know that this is what current populations, species and ecological systems are adapted to. And we know that it was during this time that all of our cities and current infrastructure was built. If the climate system changes a great deal, and particularly if it changes rapidly it will be a disaster the likes of which we have never seen.

    When he states, “The current alarm rests… [also on the belief that] that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman’s forecast for next week,” he is equivocating between weather prediction (which is concerned with what is happening on a particular day in a particular place) and climate prediction (which is concerned with the statistical behavior of the climate over broad periods of time and over wide regions). He is deliberately omitting the fact that climatology can be more accurate given the law of large numbers. He omits the fact that it has been shown to be fairly accurate with projections two decades into the future (e.g., Hansen 1988). He ignores the fact that it has done quite well at modeling earlier periods of climate change which we know by means of the paleoclimate record.

    *

    Lindzen states:

    Ten years ago climate modelers also couldn’t account for the warming that occurred from about 1050 to 1300. They tried to expunge the medieval warm period from the observational record—an effort that is now generally discredited.

    By Richard S. Lindzen
    Special to Newsweek
    April 16, 2007 issue
    http://web.archive.org/web/20070415102103/http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17997788/site/newsweek/

    Gavin and Mike state:

    It’s remarkable that Lindzen is able to pack so many errors into two short sentences. First of all, doubts about the global scale of warmth associated with the “Medieval Climate Anomaly” date back well over a decade and certainly precede any known attempts to use climate models to simulate Medieval temperatures [e.g. Hughes and Diaz (1994), …

    17 April 2007
    Lindzen in Newsweek
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/lindzen-in-newsweek/#more-435

    Given my analysis of the earlier text, perhaps not that remarkable. He seems quite skilled.

    They continue:

    Crowley’s original study and the other similar studies published since, established that the model simulations are in fact in close agreement with the reconstructions, all of which indicate that at the scale of the Northern Hemisphere, peak Medieval warmth was perhaps comparable to early/mid 20th century warmth, but that it fell well short of the warmth of the most recent decades.

    17 April 2007
    Lindzen in Newsweek
    Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/lindzen-in-newsweek

    They also point out that this is generally accepted within the climate community and part of the IPCC assessment.

    Lindzen included the following disclaimer:

    [Lindzen’s] research has always been funded exclusively by the U.S. government. He receives no funding from any energy companies.

    By Richard S. Lindzen
    Special to Newsweek
    April 16, 2007 issue
    http://web.archive.org/web/20070415102103/http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17997788/site/newsweek

    They state:

    Richard, one thinks thou dost protest too much! A casual reader would be led to infer that Lindzen has received no industry money for his services. But that would be wrong. He has in fact received a pretty penny from industry. But this isn’t for research. Rather it is for his faithful advocacy of a fossil fuel industry-friendly point of view. So Lindzen’s claim is true, on a technicality.

    17 April 2007
    Lindzen in Newsweek
    Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/lindzen-in-newsweek

    They conclude:

    For a time, Lindzen set himself apart from this latter sort of contrarian; his scientific challenges were often thoughtful and his hypotheses interesting, if one-sided – he never met a negative feedback he didn’t like. Sadly, it has become clear that those days are gone.

    17 April 2007
    Lindzen in Newsweek
    Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/lindzen-in-newsweek

    I believe the conclusion is quite fair.

  214. Rod B:

    Ray, good point that I was not clear on. I was talking of scientists having to participate in the politic business in certain cases. You’re absolutely correct, though, that the processes and norms in politics are entirely different from science’s. In politics perception is reality; in science reality is (hopefully) reality. Which may be why some scientists don’t do politics very well.

    Your post 209 is very good and I agree with it in general, but disagree in degree. As I said in post 210 I think the criteria for classifying scientists who take umbrage with some of the evidence as “dishonest” is far to light. It’s strange that Einstein was given a much higher threshold (not withstanding the very low, though greater than zero, probability that he might yet be proven right…) That’s why I conclude that many “scientists” are declared dishonest seemingly because they have a difference of opinion and go against the grain. I think the threshold has to be much greater.

  215. Rod B:

    Timothy (213), don’t change my quote without denoting it somehow — even in jest.

  216. Neal J. King:

    214 Rod B:

    It should be noted that Einstein’s difference with the majority of physicists on quantum theory was on a matter of interpretation, not on matters of experimental fact.

    It should also be pointed out that even fairly late in the game, he was posing questions that forced the other great quantum physicists to think very hard about the meaning of what they were doing and what it meant. This is a great example of what skilled criticism, in good faith, can do to advance scientific inquiry.

    On the other hand, can you tell me what advance or clarification has been brought about through the agency of Lindzen’s skepticism?

    I wonder what people will think of him in 10 years.

  217. Rod B:

    Timothy (213): “…If the climate system changes a great deal, and particularly if it changes rapidly it will be a disaster the likes of which we have never seen.”

    You might have solid expectations for this but you have no (that’s none) unassailable evidence and proof (though you make it a little slippery with terms like “a great deal” and “rapidly”). Lindzen’s claim that it might not be a disaster (implied within limits) and might even be helpful to some degree no more makes him dishonest than me being a kitty cat. He may prove to be wrong; but that’s my point, repeated ad nauseam here, that, often, dishonesty is declared not because there is dishonesty but because there is disagreement with our well thought out and analyzed conclusions. (Or that they hang around with folks from the wrong side of the tracks.) I think this is wrong.

    You say climate models are near infallible, certainly above any significant reproach. Lindzen says maybe not. Wrong? Maybe. Dishonest? IMHO not.

    Gavin and Mike refute the “Medieval Climate Anomaly” issue with a loophole dodge. Though their statement “[Lindzen’s] in error” could prove absolutely right. Dishonest? IMHO not — at least not evident.

    Etc., etc.

    The conclusions are primarily picking faux flyspecks out of the pepper. Fairness is a non sequitur. (BTW, I am not being critical of Gavin or Mike for their contentions or arguments in any way. Certainly by my criteria I couldn’t get within a million miles of dishonesty. They’re espousing their learned and well-thought out opinions/beliefs.)

  218. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, the example of Einstein is a good one. Einstein stayed within the fold because he continued to play by the rules. First, his disagreements with indeterminism were more of metaphysics than epistemology. More important, he kept his dissent within the physics community rather than doing science by press. You never heard him say, “That Niels Bohr is such an alarmist–giving up on determinism…” When he said “God does not play dice with the Universe,” he was at a scientific conference. This allowed Bohr to reply, “Stop telling God what to do.” Dissent is not the problem. I am quite open in my dissent from the linear-no threshold extrapolation of tissue damage for low radiation levels. However, I don’t go to the Wall Street Urinal and say there’s a massive fraud by the scientific community. How one dissents and where are much more important. Finally, look at who is dissenting. Other than Lindzen, Christy and a few other deadenders, none of them are climate scientists–that is also a no-no: butting into a field where you are not an expert, have never published and have limited understanding and saying the experts are all frauds or idiots. There are good reasons for the norms of science–they are the result of a long process of trying to limit subjectivity in human knowledge.

  219. Timothy Chase:

    Rod B (215) wrote:

    Timothy (213), don’t change my quote without denoting it somehow — even in jest.

    Actually I got a wire crossed in my own brain, misinterpretted my own text and then wanted to properly convey your meaning. Honestly not sure how though… “(n)ever”? Now that I think of it, I may have been remembering my sentence as, “is anyone ever justified in being dishonest?” rather than, “is anyone ever justified in concluding that someone is being dishonest?” Not sure why.

    In any case, my apologies.

  220. Timothy Chase:

    Rod B (#217) wrote:

    Timothy (213): “…If the climate system changes a great deal, and particularly if it changes rapidly it will be a disaster the likes of which we have never seen.

    As I stated:

    We know that the current Holocene era of the past 10,000 years has been particularly stable compared to past eras, that this is the time during which humans developed agriculture and that human civilization arose.

    We know that this is what current populations, species and ecological systems are adapted to. And we know that it was during this time that all of our cities and current infrastructure was built.

    Our world of the past 10,000 years has been built upon a stable climate system — something quite unusual in the paleoclimate record, and perhaps something fragile such that once it has been lost — pushed to far — we might not see the likes of it for a very long time.

    Rod B (#217) wrote:

    You might have solid expectations for this but you have no (that’s none) unassailable evidence and proof (though you make it a little slippery with terms like “a great deal” and “rapidly”).

    Not just me. The IPCC, which represents over 2000 scientists from 70 countries, seems to be of the same view:

    As early as 2020, 75 million to 250 million people in Africa will suffer water shortages, residents of Asia’s megacities will be at great risk of river and coastal flooding, Europeans can expect extensive species loss, and North Americans will experience longer and hotter heat waves and greater competition for water, the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says.

    By ARTHUR MAX Associated Press Writer
    Valencia, Spain Nov 17, 2007
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=3880571

    Things are progressing more quickly than they expected — and they know it. And what would happen by the end of the century if as Lindzen would apparently council, we were to do nothing to change course?

    But no, not a Euclidean proof. I can’t logically prove according to your apparent Cartesian standards of certainty that a near permanent change of three or four degrees Celsius will surpass anything disaster seen in the history of mankind. Empirical science simply doesn’t work that way — even in the most exacting fields of physics.

    But it seems quite likely. Climate change is already proceeding at roughly a hundred times the background level of the past 10,000 years. We are already seeing an increase in extreme weather, of floods, droughts and storms, and consequently a frequency of disasters which is proving much more difficult for the United Nations to address than in the past. Then IPCC has noted as much. But for how long and how bad will it get? Will we push it far enough to cause the ocean currents to shift from one mode to another?

    We are already seeing positive feedback from the carbon cycle, the melting of Greenland doubling its rate and icequakes tripling in just one decade. And remember: roughly half of humanity lives within 60 miles of coastline, and sea level rises of five meters within a century’s time do exist in the paleoclimate record.

    Rod B (#217) wrote:

    Lindzen’s claim that it might not be a disaster (implied within limits) and might even be helpful to some degree no more makes him dishonest than me being a kitty cat.

    It is a great deal worse than that. He is going against virtually all of evidence which is to the contrary. What little is left is merely ambiguous.

    However, even if his expressed views regarding what the climate might do or implication that it won’t be a such a bad thing were somehow a reasonable interpretation, he is gravely misrepresenting the views of the vast majority of scientists who think otherwise. This is why I spoke of a strawman. He states, “The current alarm rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise…,” and this is dishonest. And this is my central point.

    Rod B (#217) wrote:

    He may prove to be wrong; but that’s my point, repeated ad nauseam here, that, often, dishonesty is declared not because there is dishonesty but because there is disagreement with our well thought out and analyzed conclusions. (Or that they hang around with folks from the wrong side of the tracks.) I think this is wrong.

    He is a climatologist. He is familiar with the evidence, the literature and the paleoclimate record — particularly after having argued against it for so long.

    Rod B (#217) wrote:

    You say climate models are near infallible, certainly above any significant reproach. Lindzen says maybe not.

    Wrong? Maybe. Dishonest? IMHO not.

    I did not say that — but they do seem to have a fairly good track record.

    And when he states, “… but also that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman’s forecast for next week,” he knows better. I have every reason to believe that he is aware of the law of large numbers. He is undoubtedly well aware of the fact that while in all likelihood, no climatologist would make a forecast specifically for the year 2040, we seem to have done quite well in modeling various periods of climate change in the paleoclimate record, that Hansen did quite well in his projections over a twenty-year period back in 1988.

    He knows that climatologists do not generally claim a great deal of confidence with respect to any given year, but they tend to do well with their claims about decades. Likewise, I suspect that as a climatologist, he is aware of the fact that climatologists do not claim a great deal of accuracy in any regional projections as of yet. Once again he is knowingly misrepresenting the views of those he disagrees with. Moreover, he knows that the weather is chaotic, but climate has been fairly predictable for the past 10,000 years. His comparison of weather and climate virtually equates the two. That’s dishonest.

    Rod B (#217) wrote:

    Gavin and Mike refute the “Medieval Climate Anomaly” issue with a loophole dodge. Though their statement

    “[Lindzen’s] in error” could prove absolutely right. Dishonest? IMHO not — at least not evident.

    Etc., etc.

    According to them, he is misrepresenting the history of the literature surrounding the issue of the Medieval Climate and he is misrepresenting the current state of the literature. Moreover, he is strongly suggesting that there was a fair amount of dishonesty on the part of his colleagues. And likewise, he is misleading readers as to his actual financial ties to Exxon.

    Rod B (#217) wrote:

    The conclusions are primarily picking faux flyspecks out of the pepper. Fairness is a non sequitur. (BTW, I am not being critical of Gavin or Mike for their contentions or arguments in any way. Certainly by my criteria I couldn’t get within a million miles of dishonesty. They’re espousing their learned and well-thought out opinions/beliefs.)

    Perhaps you are not questioning their honesty with respect to their scientific opinions, but the phrase “loophole dodge” does not exactly suggest that they are being entirely honest with respect to their response to him.

    *

    Finally, one note.

    In 215, you stated:

    Timothy (213), don’t change my quote without denoting it somehow — even in jest.

    I apologized earlier for having changed the text, attempting to correct it so as to express your thought, but having actually changed it to the opposite of what I intended. However, I didn’t point out the fact that I had actually denoted the change with brackets around the word “[not]”. That is the standard way of indicating a word into text so as to preserve its meaning.

  221. Rod B:

    Neal (216): “…On the other hand, can you tell me what advance or clarification has been brought about through the agency of Lindzen’s skepticism? ”

    A fair question, but not the point. (Or maybe it is…) The point is declaring scientists dishonest. My contention is whether one is wrong, unsuccessful, or just disagreeable is not sufficient grounds for doing so. Many here, when you get under the intellectualizing, think it is.

    BTW, Lindzen at the minimum was indisputably eminent in his early days. I think he is advancing the science today, but others have a different opinion.

  222. Hank Roberts:

    Look, it’s silly after a while for the nonscientists here to spend space and time arguing over how and when they think scientists will declare other scientist to be anything whatsoever. We should listen more and declare less. I so declare.

  223. Rod B:

    Ray (216), your point is a valid one. But the debate over indeterminism and quantum mechanics was inherently and naturally not in the public domain nor political. It had no discernable nor immediate effect on anybody. (Until it got to actual E=mc2 and atom bombs and then Einstein and others did politicize it, at least to a small degree, because that was inherently political.) AGW is inherently political. You can’t hold the skeptics responsible for that; nor can you blame the protagonists.

    Per your later point, there is some merit in criticizing the method that some skeptics (and if I may say so, a few protagonists) have used in the political arena. There is something to be said for keeping it civil and all. Blasting op-ed pieces in the Journal might be untoward and not playing by the rules even in the political arena (at least in-so-far as science in politics is concerned — the rules of politics in a campaign, e.g., are totally different and pretty much uncivil) and ought to be frowned upon, even chastised. But it does not pass the (my) “dishonest” bar.

  224. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, Actually Neal is right on point. For a scientist, it should ALL be about advancing or clarifying the state of knowledge. Lindzen has ceased making points in his zeal to score points. The best example I know of in recent memory is his implication in the public debate with Gavin et al. that warming on Earth is coincident with warming on Mars, Jupiter and Neptune–implying that the cause of warming on Earth must be extraterrestrial. This is so patently and transparently false that a scientist of Lindzen’s intelligence could not possible believe it. Now keep in mind that he was thus misrepresenting the science in a public forum in front of a lay audience Quite honestly, it was at this point I realized Lindzen had lost interest in the truth.

  225. Timothy Chase:

    There is a point I believe this conversation has been dancing around a bit without ever actually touching on them — although Ray Ladbury’s post 224 gets rather close. Why is it important to acknowledge the fact that someone like Lindzen is being dishonest?

    *

    There are a variety of reasons.

    Obviously there are the existential consequences — if he distorts the science and our response to climate change, the stakes are quite high. However, there is also the point that he confers a false respectability upon arguments which carry no weight in the scientific community.

    The recycled arguments which might have been worthy of some consideration several decades ago — but which are now properly dismissed. The arguments which should never have been made in the first place. As long as you do not question his honesty, the less informed will often come to view that, “Perhaps those arguments aren’t as bad as everyone says — afterall, look at this fellow Lindzen — whose opinion should clearly carry some weight.”

    *

    There are those who are actually trying to understand yet will buy into his arguments. They may want to do what is best — given what they take to our best estimates of the processes that are involved. To the extent that he distorts the science, he robs them of that opportunity — until such time that they are able to see through his deception.

    Likewise, when one grants someone like Lindzen exemption from such judgment, one is necessarily doing to disservice to the scientists who are making every honest effort in the field of climatology. One is denying that their work carries with it the justification which it in fact has. To the extent that people who are uninformed accept the public conclusions of individuals like Lindzen, one is leaving the uninformed with reasons to question the motives of those who are in fact living up to the standards of their profession, those who are conducting their work with integrity, objectivity and honesty. The fact that Lindzen and others have at times actually encouraged this doesn’t help.

    Finally, one leaves uninformed open to a process in whereby they will come to view the controversies principally in terms of politics, developing an “us vs. them” attitude in which they will come to view arguments not as a means of identifying reality, but as tools in a political battle and science as merely one of the theaters in which this battle is to be waged. And as they come to view things in those terms and become active in the debate, their own honesty will become one of the first victims by degrees in the “battles” that they participate in — as they find it necessary to distort the process of identification in order to “win.”

    *

    Now as I understand it, identification always takes precedence over evaluation. One should always begin with the evidence. However, once one has carried this process to its logical conclusion, one can identify what is wrong with arguments which were demonstrated to be unsound. One can also identify patterns of argumentation on the part of various participants. One can identify the level of their understanding. And one can also ask whether a given a given bit of illogic was honest or deliberate.

    Obviously we cannot know others in quite the same way that we know ourselves. However, we can judge their intent. We do so all the time. When you read my words you are identifying my intent, what it is that I wish to convey. Likewise, we identify intent when we form expectations regarding how someone will behave, for example, when I expect my boss to pay me for two weeks of work.

    And one can identify the degree to which someone is being honest or dishonest. Typically one cannot do this without also engaging in a process by which one judges the level of their understanding. But together with an estimate of their level of understanding, a pattern of the misrepresentation of the evidence and of the conclusions one should properly draw from such evidence, one can and should make such judgments — as warranted by the evidence.

    The evidence for such judgments is — as in the case of science — cummulative. The more evidence one acquires the greater the justification there will exist for one’s conclusions. Nevertheless, one should always be willing to revise one’s judgments in light of new evidence. It is a fallible process.

    One can make mistakes — which one should not hesitate to correct. But the fact that mistakes are possible in no way negates the necessity of forming such judgments — even when they are left unexpressed. The process of judging the intent of others is part of the process of judging reality — and when one holds back from forming such judgments it will necessarily distort the rest of one’s perception of reality.

  226. Rod B:

    Timothy (225), a scholarly post. But in the end it simply comes full circle (again) to my argument: the underlying basis for declaring Lindzen (or anybody else) dishonest is that he is espousing things different from your all’s clearly thought out, validated (by the consensus), and, in effect, unassailable and infallible conclusions. As you are correct, he must be dishonest, since he clearly is in a position to comprehend your assertions and can’t claim honest but ignorant. You added another icing layer that, because the results and effects are potentially so profound and pronounced, Lindzen is ‘doubly dishonest’.

    I think we will continue to have our own interpretation and disagreement, and we should, as Hank kinda implied, move on down the road.

  227. Timothy Chase:

    Rod,

    I am glad you liked my most recent post even if you disagree with the conclusions. And yes, that particular post does presuppose the fact that Lindzen is being dishonest in the first place.

    *

    However, as has been pointed out, there is the misrepresentation of the literature and the misrepresentation of others’ views (213 and 220), and points which are simply so blatant (Ray’s 224) that as I see it, there simply isn’t room left for any other interpretation. As such the case isn’t simply a matter of his making obvious mistakes, or even making the same mistakes repeatedly long after they have been shown to be unreasonable.

    Likewise there is his choice of forums in which to present his science. Newsweek instead of Science or Nature. Presentations before an audience that lacks the critical background with which to properly evaluate those arguments rather than before his peers who do. This in itself strongly suggests that he has placed politics before science.

    You have carefully avoided the issues of misrepresentation of the views of others and the point that Lindzen has repeatedly chosen the wrong forum in which to present his “views” — except where with regard to the latter, you dismiss it as carrying insufficient weight for you to personally conclude that by itself it demonstrates dishonestly.

    *

    You have instead chosen to focus almost exclusively on “the science.” However, while claiming that something might persuade you, there has been no mention of what that something might be, and your argument appears to revolve around the belief that whatever the differences, they are simply differences of scientific opinion.

    Your approach would appear to entirely rest on the claim that there is no ultimate proof that one opinion or another is true. As such it pays no attention to the actual content of or logic underlying such scientific opinion or the cummulative nature of scientific evidence.

    But by this token such approach would apply equally to the geocentrist or flat eather. In logic, there is nothing to limit it from being applied with respect to any “difference of opinion,” scientific or otherwise, and as such implies a radical skepticism of sorts. And it would seem to imply that in your view one is never justified in concluding that someone is being dishonest — except possibly in the case of blatant logical self-contradiction.

    *

    In the final analysis, each of us must render a verdict within the courtroom of our own individual minds. And likewise, the casual haste or careful deliberation with which we arrive at those judgments will reflect upon us, both within our own minds and within the minds of others.

  228. Philippe Chantreau:

    Rod’s summary: there can be no such thing as dishonesty, only different opinions. Therefore, nobody could possibly be accountable under any circumstances.

  229. Philippe Chantreau:

    In tobaccoland, where one could suspect Rod may have learned some rethoric, there is no such thing as dishonesty, only diverging opinions, all of equal merit. Hence, there is no such thing as accountability or liability…

  230. Rod B:

    Timothy, good summary (227) of your and (pretty close to) my position. Though as I claimed before, I have no problem calling dishonesty for what it is, despite what Philippe says (“tobaccoland rhetoric”?? What’s that? I was able to see the dishonesty in both the FDA and the EPA. e.g. (as did a Federal District Judge in the EPA’s case…)). I just seem to have a much higher threshold, though I admit that gets to be pretty subjective and subject to scrutiny. I, of course, think I’m correct, but do find myself on the “benefit of the doubt” side a lot: the State didn’t come close to proving O.J guilty; Martha Stewart got railroaded; Imanda (?) Marcus was over prosecuted; Helmsley got screwed; “Scooter” Libby’s prosecution is a sham — a lonely job it seems. I have not seen anything by Lindzen that I see as dishonest, but neither have I certainly read everything Lindzen said or wrote (and don’t expect to) and certainly might have missed something. And as I said and you seemed to agree, choosing the “wrong” forum or the “wrong” audience might be improper, but not honest.

  231. Philippe Chantreau:

    That second comment is redundant, the first did not seem to initially post.

    I believe you refer to the data on addiction. It is rather funny to think that this data was indeed somewhat shaky, but that internal memos and policies enacted by the industry reveal that they intended to take advantage of addictive properties that they believed to be real, like everybody else. When they were called on that, they started to lok more closely and figured, with relief, that they may have been wasting resources. Dishonesty can have layers.

    If you refer to the the second hand effects, there is so much conclusive data on lung and cardiovascular disease for it as to make any “debate” a fraud, regardless of how EPA or FDA could have screwed up.

  232. Rod B:

    1) The gov’t unquestionably dumbed the definition of “addiction” way down.

    2) Strange, your awareness of all the “rock solid” conclusive data that neither the EPA nor FDA knew about.

  233. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, I am just curious. If a scientist were to make an argument in a public forum that was designed to sway uneducated lay people, and that scientist knew the argument was based on false pretenses, would that be dishonest?

  234. Philippe Chantreau:

    There is nothing strange about it. The American Heart Association, American Lung Association and NIH have everything one needs to know. As a matter of fact, the simple compilation of what’s in the medical journals would require full time work of a sizeable team for a while. This issue was interesting: Lancet. Vol. 364 No. 9446, 2004. Enjoy your research.

  235. Rod B:

    Ray, yes, that would be dishonest if taken completely literally. But there is a degree of a subjective fudge factor in the term “false pretense” (“pretense”?) which can be the crux of the issue. If it is false because it is false, that’s dishonest; if it is “false” because it goes against the majority opinion (and even against a lot of evidence), all things being equal, it is not dishonest, even if presented to lay people.

  236. Rod B:

    Philippe, you find nothing peculiar with agencies responsible for initiating regulation, control and enforcement presumably knowing nothing (or little) of which they are responsible for? I guess you would support the EPA’s regulation of CO2 emissions (per the Court) whether they knew anything about AGW or not, as long as the did it “right”.

  237. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, The contention that warming on Neptune (It’s summer where the warming is occurring), Mars (dust storms dominate climate) or Jupiter (dubious at best) has anything to do with warming on Earth is so obviously false, that I have a hard time believing that anyone of Lindzen’s intelligence could fall for it. I am left with the inescapable conclusion that Lindzen used that argument in a forum of nonexperts for the sole purpose of increasing doubt in their minds. THAT is dishonest, and surprisingly bold.

  238. Rod B:

    Ray, your example of Lindzen’s claim (I haven’t read it and take your description at face value) is not obviously dishonest. The temperatures found on Neptune, Mars, Jupiter, or any other planet must follow the same raw basic principles responsible for Earth’s temperature: simply, (1) the incoming insolation plus (2) the (maybe) internally generated heat, less (3) the Planck body surface radiation, but less again (4) the Planck radiation that gets “trapped” or re-absorbed determines the temperature. The details of how that happens may (and likely do) differ, especially (only?) in the 4th part, and differ greatly. But to say that “warming of planet X has no connection at all with Earth’s warming is obviously false” is simply incorrect. Now you may disagree violently over the lack of Lindzen’s differentiation of the details of that last part, and you might have a ton of evidence to back it up, but you would be hard-pressed to claim the knowledge of what happens on Jupiter, Mars, etc. is unassailable, which drops it back again to a difference of opinion — not dishonesty.

  239. Philippe Chantreau:

    Yes, it is peculiar, IF it is really as you describe.

    As I have said before, I am not fully aware of what happened in the cases you seem to refer to. You appear to be more attentive to courtroom games, and those last statements about what is or is not false, or what is or is not deceiving/dishonest, to me, sound awfully reminiscent of debates about the “meaning of is.”

    I find this especially interesting: “it would be dishonest, if taken literally.” How does one know for sure if it is going to be taken literally or not? Who knows? The idea that the original intent of the emitter of a message depends on the thought process at the receiving end is the definition of deception, in a way. I’ll let Ray comment on that.

    Nonetheless, there is no BS thrown around in courtrooms that changes the reality of tobacco’s physiological effects, for which the body of research is compelling, to say the least. How about that issue of the Lancet? How about that link I cited earlier? Is a 60% decrease in heart attacks enough for you? Many pharmaceutical labs dream of finding a drug that could show that kind of efficacy over placebo. In Montana, they did it with a smoking ban. You and other libertarians should love it: purely local, no big research progra, no feds involved, what’s not to like?

  240. Hank Roberts:

    Rod, you really could benefit by looking this stuff up before posting your beliefs.
    Just one example
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/10/global-warming-on-mars/langswitch_lang/en#comment-5324

  241. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, I am rather surprised by your characterization. On Jupiter, internally generated heat dominates–as it does on Neptune. Mars is in turn dominated by dust storms, and has essentially no water vapor. Now Lindzen must know this. The energetics of these bodies bear little resemblance to Earth. Lindzen is no fool. So I can only conclude that Lindzen was trying to score points by deliberately trying to mislead nonexperts. This is not only dishonest, it demonstrates a contempt for the truth that I find highly incompatible with the profession of scientist. If you have some other interpretation, I would like to hear it.

  242. Majorajam:

    Phillipe, not to be the bearer of bad news, but you may as well be typing to sign post. The chance that Rod would defend a claim or register a sourced argument you’ve made is a Plutarsky-esque 0.0. 9 years of college down the drain indeed.

  243. Rod B:

    Philippe (239): “…Yes, it is peculiar, IF it is really as you describe…. ”

    But it is your own characterization that I’m referring to (‘EPA and FDA screwed it up’). I actually think the EPA does understand the science, which is why they can’t plead ignorance in defense of their fraudulent tactics.

    Your high regard for the Helena study is astounding. It prima facie has no redeeming scientific value. Within six months of banning smoke in a population of around 70,000, AMIs dropped from 7 to 4 because of the decrease in SHS????? You have got to be kidding. Or woefully ignorant of basic epidemiological study protocol (you know — statistically significant, cause and effect, and other advanced concepts) and/or the physiological processes that even the half-way reasonable antagonists assert. Those guys can’t even calculate percentages!

    O.K! Who woke up Majorajam?

  244. Rod B:

    Ray, and Hank and Philippe: With one possible exception, nothing you said altered my basic contention of the four factors that determine the temperature of any planetary body. I admit I am not aware of exactly what Lindzen is professing, but simply accepting your characterization of it, of which I do not see dishonesty (at least at the “perjury” level — a little courtroom analogy to keep Philippe happy [;-) ). The one exception is dust storms. I have to admit this is new news to me and I do not understand the physics. Assuming it is different from my 4th or 1st (which accounts for albedo) factor in 238 (otherwise it would be included in my description), how exactly do dust storms per se affect the temperature? This certainly might affect my position. I always assumed dust storms affected absorption and/or insolation (albedo), but never knew for sure.

    Philippe, I’m not sure of your question over “taken literally”. Ray’s question explicitly included, “…knew the argument was based on false pretenses…” I meant did “knew” have a literal meaning, as opposed to ‘sounded like’, or ‘should’ve’ or some such. In my view the precise definition is critical to determining dishonesty as opposed to disagreement, which is the crux of this debate.

  245. Barton Paul Levenson:

    The argument from the denialists is that “Mars, Jupiter, Triton and Pluto are all warming, so it must be the sun that’s causing global warming, and not anthropogenic CO2.”

    Mars is warmer because it is subject to massive dust storms, and where the dust settles determines how much light Mars reflects. Mars is darker than it used to be, therefore it’s warmer than it used to be.

    Astronomers discovered “hot spots” on Jupiter. They did NOT discover that Jupiter is warming.

    Triton is warming because of where its primary, Neptune, is in its orbit.

    Pluto is also warming because of where it is in its orbit. It has the most eccentric orbit in the solar system (e =~ 0.25). It takes 248 years to orbit the sun and its perihelion was in 1999. It will still be warming for some time.

    And Uranus, by the way, is cooling, and Venus may be as well. How does a brighter sun accomplish that?

    The fact is, we have been measuring solar brightness directly, and it hasn’t gone up in 50 years. To assume that the direct measurements are wrong and that solar brightening is best figured from what’s happening to the planets is silly. And there’s no quantitative estimate made with this “the planets are warming” estimate. The reason why it isn’t being made is because it would blow the whole silly idea out of the water. As Phil Plait of the “Bad Astronomy” blog put it, if solar brightening has managed to warm Pluto from 37 K to 39 K, “it would blowtorch the Earth.” A little hyperbole, but he’s basically correct; by the same ratio, Earth’s mean global annual surface temperature would have gone from 288 K to 304 K — or from 59 F to 90 F. Trust me, we would have noticed.

  246. Philippe Chantreau:

    I’ll add one comment to Barton’s on Pluto. The observation by Elliott’s team on Pluto’s atmosphere led to the flourish of denialist nonsense we’ve seen. If I recall correctly, that observation was made using KECK, and was the first of its kind with that quality of equipment. Furthermore, not only Pluto is in the seasonal position mentioned by BPL but it also has been darkening since the 50’s, most likely due to collection of space materials, with the corresponding albedo change. Finally, if we use the IPCC’s definition of the time period that determines climate, 30 revolutions around the Sun, we would need to wait for a little while in order to have only a baseline of Pluto’s “climate.”

    Trying to suggest that the Sun could warm Pluto and still show no significant variation in measured TSI around the Earth is so grotesque that it deserves only to be quickly dismissed.

    The idea, however, has a useful purpose: anyone claiming to be a scientist who presents such crackpot nonsense to the masses can have no other intention than to deceive. No “knew”, “sound like”, “should have” necessary here. It’s pure denialist BS, guaranteed genuine.

  247. Hank Roberts:

    Seriously, Rod, look these things up. You bring in cookie-cutter ideas that are nothing new as though you’d just thought them up, and perhaps you have — but if you take each of these ideas as you come up with them, from wherever they spring, and just look them up, take just a little time — you won’t waste ours. Usually you’ll find they’ve already been brought up repeatedly right here at RC, let alone by searching with Scholar.

    Think what RC would be like if folks like us asked _new_ questions, thoughtful ones based on actual ideas, that would lead the scientists to say “Good question!” and then all of us could learn something working out answers.

  248. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod B, Dust storms on Mars dominate climate there by influencing whether sunlight ever makes it to the ground to be absorbed. The past 10 years of so have been pretty quiet compared to, say, the Viking era. That’s why Mars is warmer today.
    For the outer planets (Jupiter on out), sunlight plays a negligible role in their energetics. So there is no shortwave light to make it to the surface and be absorbed. The surfaces literally never see the light of day. Most of the energy is coming from within the planet. So the only possible connection between Earth’s climate and that of the outer planets–the Sun–plays a minimal role. Lindzen is too smart not to know this. So, since he cannot plead ignorance, I ask again, what possible motivation could he have for bringing up this false argument in a public (lay) forum other than to mislead the nontechnical audience? And don’t go trying to debate what the meaning of the word “is” is.

  249. Rod B:

    Et al, etc: Actually I thought Clinton’s question about “is” was not as hokey as everyone took it to be. I see nothing wrong with precisely defining one’s words, especially if the question is coming from a Special Prosecutor and a Grand Jury. Those who don’t do so at their grave peril. [Shows you what I know [;-) ]

    More to the point I think precisely defining and scoping “dishonesty” is very important and considerably more worthy than rants and loose accusations.

    I still do not see the dishonesty, though I understand the concern more – using the increasing temperatures of (some) planets to prove the general increase in insolation. I think there still could be some connection, though it seems pretty loose and tenuous. Planetary insolation seems to be selectively increasing by happenstance via the changing orbital positions, as Barton, et al point out. Our actual measurement of insolation (at ground and TOA) clearly is the most accurate, even maybe 50 years ago. (I have trouble accepting the accuracy of our measurements of Pluto’s temperature. Though clearly if Pluto’s temp is noticeably increasing through non-orbital insolation, the Sun’s output has to be increasing massively, as Philippe points out.)

    I take it my 4 universal parts to planetary temperature stands. I included albedo factors in #1, insolation, though it might not have been obvious. And, as I get it the Martian dust storms simply (??) alter the albedo and insolation.

    Hank, sorry to be wasting your time. The issue is the honesty of lack of by the likes of Lindzen as viewed by other people. I’m not sure how I research that in a closet without asking those other people.

  250. Ray Ladbury:

    OK, Rod, I ask it another way. You are in a room with two doors. One leads to freedom. The other to a tigers cage. You can ask Lindzen or Gavin which door to take. Based on their track record, which would you ask?

  251. Hank Roberts:

    Rod, I mean check the underlying claim (“… planets are warming”) — questions of motivation aside, you can look up stuff and often will find it’s frequently asked and the cites will let you check facts.

  252. Philippe Chantreau:

    Rod, I somehow missed that #243 comment. If I was dismissing what you too rarely present as easily as you dismiss the Helena study, you would be screaming bloody murder. 70000 is a nice size population. Before you dismiss the math of the people who did the study, who I assume to be honest and competent (probably you disagree on that), you should have some sort of review of their maths and their methods that indicates how warranted your oh so demeaning comment is. In the absence of such a review, you’re simply ranting like a tobacco lobbying freak. The Helena study is every bit as good and better than the buffoneries put forth by the industry you seem so fund (oops, typo, fond) of. In any case, if it’s not the smoking ban, something has made the MI incidence come down, wonder what that could be…

    As for EPA and FDA, you’re either totally confused about the chronology of your own posts or engaging in gross obfuscation. The characterization is yours. I said regardless of how EPA and FDA could have screwed it up in reference to the court cases that you alluded to. I have no knowledge of those cases and little interest in them because, as I said, they have no bearing whatsoever on the very real physiological effects of second hand smoke. As posts go by, you’re displaying qualities more and more alike to those of the savory central character of that movie called “Thank You for Smoking”…

  253. Rod B:

    Philippe, I did a thorough review of their math, using my education and degree in mathematics, and found they could not correctly calculate the percent drop in going from 7 to 4. My computer analysis group tells me it’s more like 40% than 60%. It must have been in their triple integration or something. They should also have checked their stats against the sales of Big Macs.

    Not meaning to be personal, but does your non-interest in evidence as long as you already have the answers apply to the AGW discussion?

  254. Rod B:

    “….who I assume to be honest and competent (probably you disagree on that)…”

    I would assume their honesty, though it probably would not pass the threshold honesty discussed elsewhere in this thread. Competent? I’ll again give them the benefit of the doubt (they have a decent pedigree) and assume they just lost control and reasoning in their exuberance.

  255. Hank Roberts:

    > Helena
    Monroe: http://www.theheart.org/article/829265.do

    “… in Monroe County there was a significant drop in the number of nonsmoking patient admissions for MI in the 22-month period after the smoking ban implementation (August 2003 to May 2005), compared with the 22-month period before the ban (August 2001 to May 2003). In Delaware County, no such drop was seen. In contrast, there was no significant change in the number of admissions for MI among smoking patients between the two time periods in the two counties….”

  256. Hank Roberts:

    Lindzen has spoken about the risks involved:
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=857#comment-52757

  257. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod, I asked if you would care to come up with an interpretation of Lindzen’s actions that casts them in a more positive light. Myself, I cannot imagine what would motivate a scientist to make knowingly a false argument in front of a nontechnical audience if it was not an attempt to fool them into supporting his point of view. If a used car salesman made false claims about a car, we would not hesitate to call him a liar. If a plumber lied similarly, we would probably not give him our business again. This, however, is worse. There is no grey area for science: you cleave to the evidence or you are not a scientist.

  258. Philippe Chantreau:

    Rod, you’re so picky when it comes to exact words, I’m surprised you trusted the Eureka blurb (it does not have many precise figures) as much as I did, which was indeed a mistake on my part. If I was a bad teacher, I’d say I was just checking whether you were paying attention. The level of admissions for the time period considered is 60% of what it was without the ban. BMJ abstract:

    “Results: During the six months the law was enforced the number of admissions fell significantly (- 16 admissions, 95% confidence interval – 31.7 to – 0.3), from an average of 40 admissions during the same months in the years before and after the law to a total of 24 admissions during the six months the law was effect. There was a non-significant increase of 5.6 (- 5.2 to 16.4) in the number of admissions from outside Helena during the same period, from 12.4 in the years before and after the law to 18 while the law was in effect.”

    I notice, however, that you took the blurb’s numbers at face value, attributing them to the study, and from there jumped to the accusation toward the researchers. Is this representative of a certain mind set? Does it indicate that you can claim to be more interested in evidence than I supposedly am?

    By the way, while big macs are a risk factor, they are not currently known as a trigger for MI, whereas there is no shortage of physiological evidence (arterial and platelets changes) of second hand smoke as a trigger.

    Interestingly, this study is far from being a unique case, there is Hank’s link to the Monroe study above and also this one: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3043008
    Helena, Monroe, Pueblo, 3 studies with similar results.

    I do acknowledge that I was wrong to wage that 60% figure without looking closer. Nevertheless, I contend that a 40% reduction is still way more than what most, if any, single other action could achieve, and that is remarkable. If you can’t concede that much, and be unable to produce evidence why, I might consider you dishonest.

    You should acknowledge you were wrong to suggest that Glantz’ team can’t calculate a percentage and that the whole study is trash (which you did suggest).

  259. Rod B:

    Philippe, So a 40% decrease is significant but a 47% decrease (31% on an equivalent up/down basis) is insignificant? I guess it must be so — it’s going the wrong way! Just give it a little confidence factor/deviation dance and all will be OK! Though at least they didn’t adopt the EPA’s fraudulent 90% Confidence Factor, to meet their numbers.

    You say, “…I notice, however, that you took the blurb’s numbers at face value,…”

    Silly me! I just looked at what you referenced.

    You say, “…You should acknowledge you were wrong to suggest that Glantz’ team can’t calculate a percentage and that the whole study is trash (which you did suggest)….”

    I should do no such thing. Admittedly the percentage thing, while true, was done for a little humor and I don’t hold them to any major deficiency. But the study, as anything conclusive, is worthless — “trash” is such a harsh word — and would take a lot of mathematical talc to clean up that ugly baby.

  260. Hank Roberts:

    > mathematical talc

    Patience. Epidemiology accumulates, and the comparisons are now far easier to make because of controls on second-hand smoke locally.

    Prediction: locales in which young people aren’t exposed to second-hand smoke will be ones in which those kids less frequently take up smoking; second hand smoke is sufficient to dose kids with nicotine:
    http://www.healthline.com/blogs/smoking_cessation/2007/07/how-many-cigarettes-does-it-take-to.html
    http://pcvc.sminter.com.ar/cvirtual/cvirteng/cienteng/sfeng/sfc6301i/ilown/ilown4b.htm

    Face it, Rod, it’s a crisis for libertarians of any stripe to accept the fact that by what they do, they’re drugging other people — or changing the climate. No libertarian wants to believe their personal activities have such power to affect others. But they do.

  261. Philippe Chantreau:

    Funny how attentive you are to numbers on that subject, whereas you were initially satisfied with bold statements unsubstantiated by any numbers on outer solar system planetary warming claims.

    CO2’s heat properties do not owe anything to temperature statistics, just like mathematical tricks don’t activate platelets, or change arterial wall behavior. These studies are popping up everywhere they enact smoking bans. I have no doubt your strange libertarian outlook will push you toward always more mathematical acrobatics to try to deny what’s obvious.

    As Hank said, eventually the epidemiological evidence will be abundant enough to prevent number bickering by those who don’t want to care how their actions affect others. And unlike for GW, the course of action will then be easily implementable and yield quick results.

  262. Rod B:

    If you can’t, or prefer not to, distinguish between drawing “solid” cause and effect conclusions from little teeny tiny samples over a period that is a hiccup in the life of the effect, and the part of the GW stuff that is based on solid science that is repeatable to the exact same result 100 % of the time — well, I can be of no help. Nor if you have no reservations or questions extending a single incidence of some minute physiological change (pulse rate, e.g.) to three more AMIs per month.

    So you say that given a population of 70,000 where smokers could continue to smoke but only if, say, 100 yards from anybody else, there will be three less AMIs (not just MIs) every month? And you are as confident of that as your calculation of the emitted radiation from the surface Sun (and its temperature) required to increase the temp of Pluto by 2 degrees (all other things being equal)? And, finally, out of curiosity, the study where MIs went up does not count because……..??

    Or is it, “Just wait ’till next year!”

    Libertarians?? What has that to do with anything — smoking, global warming or the price of tea……

  263. Ray Ladbury:

    Re 260. Hank, any true libertarian realizes that their rights end at their nose. That’s one reason why libertarianism is incompatible with human nature. If libertarians were correct, humans would be intelligent enough to anticipate the consequences of their actions, work out solutions and implement them in time–rather like ants following chemical trails. Humans are too perverse to be able to capitalize on total liberty.

  264. Majorajam:

    Hank, Philippe, et al,

    Has this been as fruitful as you anticipated?

    [edit – No WMD, no ad hom]

    In contrast to continuing this inane line of discussion, I have two questions whose answer I am genuinely interested in hearing, i.e. that have some semblance of purpose: First, if you are modeling average temperatures as a scalar of emissions over the maximum timescale that could be considered relevant for current emissions policy- say two centuries- is it best to describe the climate sensitivity to emissions as an uncertain single point estimate or an uncertain distribution of scalars? I don’t think this is an easy question to answer. Second, is it at all possible, given the current state of the science, to come up with any estimates of the magnitude and timing of long-term feedbacks- what Annan and Hargreaves have treated as forcings in their work that places very tight error bars around climate sensitivity? Something like this is critical for economic modeling, given the profound import of tail behavior on CBA.

    If you can’t obliquely ignore the trolls, perhaps it will be easier to do overtly.

  265. Hank Roberts:

    > ittle teeny tiny samples over a period that is a hiccup in the life

    Patience, Rod, the numbers are only collected as fast as the calendar changes. More every day.

  266. Rod B:

    90% of libertarianism is good IMO, but the other 10% actually destroys its effectiveness. I’ve never heard the 10% described as Ray wrote it (263), but that is damn good! (other than the perverse part, which is an unnecessary pejorative) I still don’t grasp the relevance, though.

  267. Joseph O'Sullivan:

    This is an interesting discussion. I have learned something about the conflict between some sections of the political spectrum and the scientific community.

    There is a fundamental clash between the libertarian viewpoint and the scientific practice. Its a version of the old mantra “you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts”. The very name libertarian contains the key part of the philosophy, the belief in unlimited freedom. This clashes with the goal of science, finding physical facts that are independent of anyone’s beliefs.

    This can be seen in the libertarian dislike of the scientific process. Once the very high burden of proof necessary in science is met, the discussion moves on. This offends people who equate limiting discussion with limiting freedom. On the other hand scientists know that moving on to new subjects is absolutely necessary to make progress.

    I did get this on a practical level because in legal proceedings a common tactic is to try to stretch out the process to get a desired result. I recognized these tactics in Steve Milloy’s survey.

    I now understand the vehemence of some libertarian commentators on RC. The opposition to stopping discussion is on a deeper philosophical level. I recall someone misreading a plain language environmental statute so completely I wondered what was going on. I understand now that regulation, particularly environmental regulation, for some is considered offensive and not just a poor policy choice.

  268. Majorajam:

    Note to commenters: context lost. That wasn’t supposed to sound like a high-handed rebuke of the worthiness of the recent subject matter, so no offense meant in that regard. Also, still interested in thoughts on the surviving component of my post.

    Note to the moderator: isn’t attacking an argument by way of attacking a person that makes it, (ad hominem), different from attacking a person by way of citing their manifestly willful ignorance (i.e. attacking their arguments, although in this case that label doesn’t quite apply). The former we know is a fallacy while the latter is not logically invalid, even if, perhaps, a little ill mannered. Seems a distinction worth bearing in mind, given that it is obscured repeatedly in global warming rhetoric. Lastly, in case it wasn’t obvious, I wasn’t trying to open up any discussion on WMD- it was necessary to make a point is all. A point I’m over starting… now.

    [Response: I am far less interested in the subtleties of debating philosophy than I am concerned with maintaining the tone and content of the threads. Posts that are likely to lead to pointless personal comments and uninformative dispute get canned. – gavin]

  269. Philippe Chantreau:

    I might be missing something. Of Helena, Pueblo and Monroe, which was the one showing an increase in the location where the ban was in effect?

  270. Joseph O'Sullivan:

    Its getting off topic, even for me so to end this thread on a civil tone, I will admit I let my own personal beliefs get in the way in my comments here on RC. I find environmentally destructive activities offensive, largely based on my personal philosophy.

    I do find tricks, like Milloy’s survey, that aim to waste time in the scientific community and to publicly misrepresent research are not in anyone’s best interest. Its good to have one area in human endeavor where its primarily about the data not about appearance, spin and personal beliefs. Science does fill that role That being said, maybe I should follow David’s example and just forget the survey.

  271. Rod B:

    Philippe, I was referring to Hank’s 255…. (I think..)

  272. Hank Roberts:

    > 255
    Rod, read it at WebMD (free registration) or look it up on PubMed.
    Plenty more published (use Scholar, not Google) on the subject.
    http://www.future-drugs.com/doi/full/10.1586/14737167.7.4.309
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1392270

    The pro-smoking sites will no doubt be able to find a pairwise comparison that, taken alone, makes it look like second hand smoking reduces heart attacks — just search enough pairs of counties, to find the one in 20 where that number happens by chance — but that would be cherry-picking. Look for the weight of the evidence.

  273. Philippe Chantreau:

    As far as I coud tell, there was no increase in any area where the ban was in effect. The Helena study showed an increase in admissions from outside the city, where the ban did not apply (city ordonance).

    In any case, there is much more to it than those studies or, as you suggested, an increased heart rate: Burghuber et al (1986); Sinzinger & Kefalides (1982); Zhu et al (1993). This is old news, there is more with Otsuka et al (2001), Sumida et al(1998), Raitakari et al (1999), Cucina et al (2000), Schmid et al (1996), Rubenstein et al (2004). And, of course, there are all the lung problems. What can I say, we’re looking at a body of evidence, once again. Kinda like in climate science.

    Besides, the comments on libertarianism are totally relevant to this, as they are to climate/CO2. Here is one example: libertarians get offended that oversized vehicles would somehow be penalized by higher taxation, stricter fuel efficiency standards that would make them more expensive and so forth. The argument I get from libertarians when this is mentioned is: “you can’t tell me what to drive.” Of course, they see only that part that satisfies them. The other side is this: oversized gas guzzlers driven to commute or go to the grocery store increase gasoline demand for no reason. That drives the price of gas up and everybody pays the same price at the pump. If all those miles of commuting and errand running were done on cars like mine (which delivers 37 to 43 mpg in actual use), the demand and prices would be lower. In essence, I end up subsidizing at the pump the driving of gas guzzlers. Libertarian logic is that I can’t dictate them what to drive, or how much they should pay for their ego-boosting ride, but they can dictate to me how much I must pay for a gallon of gas. Right. And that does not even consider climate issues.

    By the same token, they cringe about tobacco regulation. Chronic smokers regularly show up in the ED with a combination of COPD exacerbation/pneumonia, often when they are compensating so hard that it finally catches their attention. They end up decompensating in the ED, get intubated, head to the ICU where they cost $3000/day without even a band aid. Those people tend to be more frequently low income and uninsured. So you pay for it, and me, and everyone with insurance. But it is their inalienable right to smoke. Right. And that does not even consider second hand smoke issues.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this, I guess.

  274. Rod B:

    Well, maybe there are people like that. Though in actuality the vast majority of people, not just a few Libertarians, do not want to be told what to do and want to tell everybody else what to do.

    Cherry picking is selecting insignificant studies without (hardly) any back-up science that have impressive-looking numbers. Helena comes to mind. But I suppose the folks pooh-poohing 2nd hand smoke hazards might do that too. Though I have never heard any say that 2nd hand smoke improves one’s health as Hank implied. I’ll have to check Powers over the Libertarian segment of the Hummer market; that’s new news to me.

    I’m here trying to better understand the science and assess my skepticism with AGW, and trying to comprehend and believe where I am wrong or right as the case may be. I have not been overwhelmed, though it might have some validity, by the consensus argument as it more subjective than objective science. Now you tell me the AGW proof is every bit as good as the harmful SHS studies/proof?!!? That somehow ought to convince me? If that’s your aim (I don’t know if it is or not) you’re going backwards real fast.

    Smokers are more frequently uninsured? As Hank would say, “References! Cites! Back-up studies!” Plus you didn’t credit us smokers (I’m one — once world class, now 1/3 pack a day… and didn’t go to one methadone clinic in the process) for paying a big chunk of some States’ education, Medicaid, and general expenses, not to mention a stadium and roads and bridges here and there, and a ball team or two for now rich lawyers. We’re so nice.

    But you are right. We ought to just agree to disagree and stop muddying up this thread.

  275. Philippe Chantreau:

    The cites are examples in the existing body of evidence, not cherry-picked studies. It is a fact that SHS and AGW both have a significant body of research that shows preponderance of evidence going in a certain direction.
    I definitely agree on your last line.

  276. Rod B:

    If you believe the research, analysis and body of evidence for SHS is anywhere within a thousand miles of that for AGW,… well, you’re flat out wrong and I can be of no help.

    You get the last word…. if you wish.

  277. Philippe Chantreau:

    That’s a funny trick Rod, mentioning the last word and making then a statement that, in a way, gives it to you without bothering with being consistent with your own standards. What would you say if I, or anyone else, would make that statement: “you’re flat out wrong and there is nothing I can do for you.” You’d find it laughable and send a snarky remark. What did you say earlier again? References, cites, studies…

    You accuse me of cherry-picking cites but you haven’t shown anything at all to substantiate your argument.

    I really don’t care about the last word. I care more about reality. That flat out wrong comment is itself a strange rethoric attempt at the last word, unless it is substantitated. The substantitation should address also why the ALA, AHA, CDC and a number of other scientific organizations are flat out wrong as well. And it should hold up to the same fanatical scrutiny that you screen all evidence with, whether it be on AGW on any other subject.

    Politicians and lawyers don’t have to be intellectually consistent, but you’re neither, are you?

  278. Rod B:

    No.

  279. Jack Roesler:

    Did anyone predict the expansion of the tropics, as detailed in the following article?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071202/ap_on_sc/expanding_tropics;_ylt=AnWBgFSWT6aoniHJu.chDPAPLBIF

    Global warming is listed as one of the possible reasons for this new development.

  280. Timothy Chase:

    Jack Roesler (#279) wrote:

    Did anyone predict the expansion of the tropics, as detailed in the following article?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071202/ap_on_sc/expanding_tropics;_ylt=AnWBgFSWT6aoniHJu.chDPAPLBIF

    Global warming is listed as one of the possible reasons for this new development.

    All of the IPCC AR4 models show it:

    Abstract

    A consistent weakening and poleward expansion of the Hadley circulation is diagnosed in the climate change simulations of the IPCC AR4 project. Associated with this widening is a poleward expansion of the subtropical dry zone. Simple scaling analysis supports the notion that the poleward extent of the Hadley cell is set by the location where the thermally driven jet first becomes baroclinically unstable. The expansion of the Hadley cell is caused by an increase in the subtropical static stability, which pushes poleward the baroclinic instability zone and hence the outer boundary of the Hadley cell.

    Expansion of the Hadley cell under global warming
    Jian Lu, Gabriel A. Vecchi, Thomas Reichler
    Geophysical Research Letters, VOL. 34, L06805, doi:10.1029/2006GL028443, 2007
    http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/124519.pdf

    I might be able to find some more papers on it a little later.

  281. Majorajam:

    Fair enough Gavin, but the distinction matters, as does anything separating logical inferences from illogical ones.

  282. henry stoldt:

    I’m doing a reasearch project presenting arguments for and against co2 caused by humans is causing climate change. I found an article called 35 Inconvenient truths By Lord Christopher Monckton. It has 35 errors in Al Gore’s movie. I’m wondering if any of you find any errors in this document(scientific errors) could you please tell me in a comment.

    Thanx

  283. Hank Roberts:

    Henry, is this for a grade school paper? I’m guessing about the level you’re aiming for. Have you used the “Start Here” button at the top of the page?

    You can also type “Monckton” into the box labeled Search, at the top of the page on the other side.