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Something Is X in the State of Denmark

Filed under: — rasmus @ 29 November 2009

We received a letter with the title ‘Climate Change: The Role of Flawed Science‘ which may be of interest to the wider readership. The author, Peter Laut, is Professor (emeritus) of physics at The Technical University of Denmark and former scientific advisor on climate change for The Danish Energy Agency. He has long been a critic of the hypothesis that solar activity dominates the global warming trend, and has been involved in a series of heated public debates in Denmark. Even though most of his arguments concern scientific issues, such as data handling, and arithmetic errors, he also has much to say about the way that the debate about climate change has been conducted. It’s worth noting that he sent us this letter before the “CRU email” controversy broke out, so his criticism of the IPCC for being too even handed, is ironic and timely.

Update – the link in the letter is now fixed. -rasmus


353 Responses to “Something Is X in the State of Denmark”

  1. 1

    Great, thanks for posting this. Debunking the “it’s all the sun” claim requires considerably less effort than this because the relationship in recent decades is so clearly not there (as e.g. I did here) but it’s good to have a more heavyweight response.

    I also agree with not pussyfooting around calling fraud and incompetence. The denial camp has no compunctions about accusing the science community of fraud on flimsy or non-existent evidence (or stolen emails taken out of context – not to mention stolen source code snipped to hide the fact that the “incriminating” content is never used).

  2. 2
    Danny says:

    Great piece; thanks for sharing it! Unfortunately, the link that Laut provides in the letter appears to be broken as the result of what appears to be a word processor’s automatic insertion of a hyphen into the link. If you replace the hyphen with a dash, the link works fine: http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/Solar-ClimateLAUTPREPRINT.pdf

  3. 3

    A strongly-worded post on Svensmark et al. Sounds like the “GW Swindle” title was even more apropos than we thought, albeit directed wrongly.

    Unfortunately, the link to Stephen Schneider’s site (to access Laut 2003) didn’t work for me. (Though there’s an “under construction” notice at the Schneider site, so perhaps it’s coming.)

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Peter Jensen says:

    Thanks for publishing this letter.

    It would be good to have a regular reminder and update of the top 10-50 items of junk science associated with climate change (including, where necessary, documenting significant mistakes made in articles and work related to the IPCC).

    What would the scorecard look like? What would be the top 50 most-influential items of fully discredited science?

  6. 6
    A says:

    Hey,

    I commend you guys on your work in this site and the recent situation which has been blown out of proportion. I have a suggestion in regards to the Other Opinions column with all the links, I say remove the BBC enviroment blog link. A lot of what is written there in regards to climate change is spurious unfounded information and since the leaked emails, there has been nothing but disinformation and the BBC has provided a platform for quacks and their dubious “science”. I am thoroughly disappointed with the BBC and I now refuse to use any of their services. They are no longer a credible source in my view, though this is not the first time they have published articles with false information but I believe this is the first time they have perpetuated discredited ideas as truth.

    Kind regards,

  7. 7
    Eachran says:

    Very good letter from Peter Laut.

    It is fundamentally a question of trust : there are good scientists and not so good scientists as for professionals everywhere – doctors, dentists, accountants and lawyers, for example.

    Unfortunately we do not have the luxury of time in exposing the rascals nor, whilst accepting rights to freedom of expression, to pervert freedom of expression by preventing some crackpot from making a film or publishing something false merely for them to make a bit of loot or to satisfy a recognition craving.

    I am not a practising scientist but I have been following climate science over the years and I try to keep up. One of the problems I have is the immortality of junk science – exactly the point made by Peter Laut in his letter. It takes a good memory or good record keeping, or both, to keep hold of the thread connecting the best available current science.

    If it’s difficult for me, someone with a bit of a science background, then it must be more difficult for the average Jo (masculine or feminine).

    I don’t know what the answer is to this except to go with the consensus of top quality scientists in their respective fields who are respected by their peers.

    One of my bigger difficulties with global warming is the oft repeated comment that humanity is taking a big and expensive bet on switching to a zero-carbon economy if AGW turns out to be a hoax.

    I accept the insurance argument to some extent, but we really should have nailed the argument to the wall that switching to a zero-carbon economy is not as difficult as people make out and will take place over a much shorter time frame than the cut-off dates for reductions which most politicians (and even Messrs Hansen and Schellnhuber) seem to be working with.

    I do not say that with false optimism but with full knowledge of how countries and societies have developed historically. The creativity of humanity almost has no bounds and when we are really in a fix we fix it rapidly and wonder later what the fuss was all about.

    To move forward takes political leadership which apart from a few isolated examples is lacking. In its absence I can only recommend doing ones best and encouraging others to do likewise.

  8. 8
    David Heigham says:

    ” “I would love it to be right! I would absolutely love it to be right! Unfortunately, wanting something doesn’t change the scientific reality. One can’t use spin or rhetoric or anything to change the scientific reality.”

    Peter Laut has a marvellous quotation here from Mike Lockwood. Most all of us who are not deep in the data would really love to have man-made global warming go away. Unfortunately, it is not going away; and it always seems to be more threatning than the last IPCC report said.

  9. 9
    Esop says:

    Excellent stuff.
    November 09 global temps will most likely break all time records, and 2010 could easily surpass 1998 as the warmest on record. I’m looking forward to seeing Svensmark (and his followers) sometime next year explain why their proposed cooling is somewhat delayed. After all, with basically no sunspot activity for months upon months, that star should have chilled us properly by now? The newspapers (Norway)had no problems quoting Svensmark and other solar scientists during a cold spell last winter, proudly announcing that global warming was pretty much a thing of the past. Let us see if they can do a follow up interview in a few months, during what seems to become the mildest winter in ages.

  10. 10
    Charly Cadou says:

    Nice demolition job and a fine example of what is wrong with climate science research these days.

  11. 11
    Steve says:

    I don’t see too many sceptics claiming it’s the sun at all. There are a few, but most seem to concentrate on the lack of evidence that CO2 is the driver, rather than pointing to the sun. Indeed, many sceptics (rightly in my opinion) ask ‘what warming?’ rather than pointing to any cause of any warming. And before any usual suspects jump on that, I’d say that there is no warming that is statistically significant when you remove the UIHE, poor station siting, station drop-out etc. Even when you study the more reliable lower tropo data then there is no statistically significant warming there either, over the past 30 years. If the past eleven years would have added to the small trend then none of these arguments and the polarisation in the debate would be happening. But the fact is that as warming didn’t carry on at the late 1990s rate then the sceptics have a point. This is missed (or rather not addressed) by pro-AGWers. Things that are happening have to be admitted, but things that aren’t happening have to be admitted too. There was a strange and quite abrupt upturn in temps in the late 1970s which doesn’t fit with greenhouse gases being a driver. We should have seen a gradual incline, but that hasn’t happened either.

    [Response: What is your expectation based on? Not any individual climate model I'm certain. Then what? Thinking about this should demonstrate to you that post-hoc statements about some mismatch that you perceive needs to be more thoroughly looked into. -gavin]

    Until these points are properly addressed then the proponents of global warming remind me of someone bleeding to death through a cut artery while applying a plaster to a hand-cut. Deny CRU email leaks are damaging, point to the physics of CO2, but all the while you have UIHE, poor station siting, station drop-out, a lack of warming in the Southern Hemisphere, and no corelation at all between emissions of CO2 and the global temperature anomaly. I would also agree with the commentator above about the BBC, but for different reasons. They continually put out scare stories about warming that will have no other effect than to make everyone ‘warming-weary’ simply because they are so absurd. The ‘six degree rise’ being just one. The Wilkins ice shelf story in Antartica is not just wheeled out every year by the BBC, they even use the same photo!

    Until we have real truth in the idea behind warming then we simply won’t get anywhere. [edit]

  12. 12
    ccpo says:

    Another nail in the coffin. How, pray tell, do the dead keep rising? Can all not see throwing words at them is not going to do it, at least not polite euphemisms.

    We’re mad as hell. How about we not take it anymore?

    Eachran,

    Actually, Diamond and others have shown that collapse of societies is a pretty normal thing. Diamond has illustrated the opposite of what you say may be true due to the issue of complex systems. The further a society slips and the more they try to solve their problems with greater complexity, the more likely they are to fall.

    This situation is global. Society has never been more complex. We are in overshoot of what the planet can provide us. Fossil Fuels are beginning global declines.

    We can, and will, collapse, imo, if we don’t simplify, reduce, localize.

    There is a nice piece linked on my blog about balancing out consumption a bit.

    Cheers

  13. 13
    MarkB says:

    Peter Laut: “One can’t use spin or rhetoric or anything to change the scientific reality.”

    No…but it can change the “reality” in the public’s mind. The general public is the target audience of the anything-but-human-activities crowd.

  14. 14
    Paul Farrar says:

    I think Laut missed one aspect: Danish nationalism. Svensmark, in particular, has been lionized by the popular press in his home country because he is the DANISH David who slayed the Goliaths of the US, UK, etc with all their climate research billions. The “solar Danes” (including Lomborg) have been awarded prizes, research and government positions, and made the subject of laudatory films, TV shows, and magazine articles — much to the annoyance of more by-the-rules Danish and Scandinavian scientists.

  15. 15
    George Ortega says:

    Global warming deniers and skeptics have gone too far in confusing the public about the climate change. Here is bold proposal for how we can stop them while placing the issue of global warming at the center stage of media attention.

    In the United States and other countries, climate change misinformation legislation is clearly necessary to finally put, and keep, the seriousness of global warming at center stage. An ingenious dynamic of this legislation is that it would not even need to pass and be signed into law to have much of its intended effect.

    An unapologetically draconian Climate Change Misinformation Act (CCMA) would make it illegal for media corporations and large organizations to deny, or provide a podium for individuals to deny, the reality and seriousness of global warming. The bill would be based on our longstanding precedents prohibiting individuals and corporations from, for example, practicing medicine and law without a license, prohibiting individuals and corporations from making false advertising claims, and protecting the public health, as through the banning of cigarette ads on television.

    The Climate Change Misinformation Act would, of course, allow peer-reviewed professional scientific journals to challenge established scientific findings on global warming. It would also allow individuals to deny, and self-publish material denying, global warming. The legislation would, however, prohibit corporations and large organizations from challenging the established scientific consensus on global warming, and require the courts to impose severe financial and other penalties, including the imprisonment of top officers and executives, for transgressions.

    A Climate Change Misinformation Act would undoubtedly evoke massive attacks from Conservatives aligned with Big Business and from Liberals wishing to defend free speech rights. However, that is the point and strategy of proposing CCMA. In order to attack the bill, its opponents would need to show that global warming is not happening, that it is not caused by humans, that it does not represent a serious threat to civilization as we know it, and that it does not need to be strongly and quickly addressed. In fact, opponents of CCMA would be powerless to attack the bill without reopening, and keeping open, the public debate over the seriousness of global warming. Once global warming is finally and strongly back in the national spotlight, legions of scientists armed with a mountainous arsenal of overwhelming evidence would have a captive audience eager to hear exactly how perilous a threat we face from climate change.

    I can think of no other way to help the global public sufficiently appreciate the magnitude of the threat we and our progeny face than to make illegal corporate and organizational misinformation on climate change. If we opt to refrain from taking this drastic, but absolutely realistic and rational step, the world’s people will quite understandably continue to conclude that the climate crisis is not very serious.

    In 1970, the U.S. Congress enacted the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act banning cigarette ads on TV and radio to protect the pubic health. Neither cigarette manufacturers, nor tobacco growing organizations, nor their agents, were considered proper countervailing authorities to the Surgeon General on the question of cigarettes and the public health.

    Indeed, that limitation on the free speech rights of cigarette manufacturers is minor in comparison to limitations on not only free speech rights but various rights of commerce and industry related to agents deemed more harmful to the public health, such as cocaine, LSD, etc. The principle at play regarding the public health risk of both drugs like nicotine and of climate change is the same; there must be a sole and final authority for that decision, and it is the government’s duty to determine who that authority ultimately is. A Climate Change Misinformation Act would establish an organization like the IPCC as the sole and final authority on the public health risks of climate change.

    We now have laws that prohibit manufacturers from making false claims about products as trivial as nutritional supplements. Generations to come would never understand or forgive us if we fail to enact laws prohibiting corporations from making false claims about a climate crisis that is endangering civilization, as we know it. They would very rightly view us as completely immoral and cowardly. I hope we will decide to love our children and grandchildren more than we fear the few who, from ignorance, stupidity or immorality, are standing in the way of our safeguarding the welfare of our descendants for generations to come.

    [Response: I can't support this, I'm afraid, and neither would any of my colleagues. The way to get rational honest discussion to happen is to make your voice heard -- write letters to congress; write letters to the mainstream media; talk to you friends and neighbours. But 'laws' about truth always backfire. Your intentions are good, but you are proposing an Orwellian system that is quite frightening. This is exactly the kind of thing that the crazies out there would like to believe that mainstream scientists and environmentalists (not the same thing, by the way) want. Please don't help stoke their deluded fantasies!--eric]

  16. 16
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Steve, See here’s the problem I have. You state your conclusions with such absolute certainty, that one wonders what sort of analysis underlies them. As Gavin points out, it ain’t model driven. Have you actually done the math and figured out how much energy is required to raise global temperatures half a degree on average–thats the temperature of land, sea to say, 50-100 meters) and air, btw?

    Methinks perhaps you are blowing smoke. I mean after all the hoopla about microWatt’s site study, an analysis with problem stations found that it made zero difference. And all of McI’s analytical twists and turns have not changed the paleoclimate reconstructions one iota. Reality, Steve, it’s what’s for dinner.

  17. 17
    Ray Ladbury says:

    George Ortega,
    Thanks but no thanks. Like it or not, we live in a democracy, and I would prefer to keep it that way. I say we deal with the tin-foil-hat crew the old fashioned–by quiet persuasion and presentation of the evidence. If that fails, ridicule of ideologically driven nutjobs is always fun.

  18. 18
    Jaime Frontero says:

    Thank you for sharing this letter.

    And thank you for undertaking the Sisyphean task of – as working and valued scientists – entering the political arena with such positive effect.

    A suggestion: the next time you consider adding a body to the already impressive corpus of the RC site, give some thought to making it a qualified investigative reporter. Seems to me there’s a fair amount of money that needs following – and that’s the essence of reporting, isn’t it?

    Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis‐Christensen? Two of James Inhofe’s fabled 400 (http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=f80a6386-802a-23ad-40c8-3c63dc2d02cb), right?

    “…two arithmetic errors artificially created…”, “…which were well hidden in the article…”.

    Scathing. Excellent work on the part of Peter Laut. And a clear call to follow the money.

    Now there may be those who believe that such investigative undertakings have no place in the realm of science – even if only as a matter of professional courtesy. But I am no longer one of them. Nor – after the CRU hack – should any of us be. [edit]

    Enough.

  19. 19
    Jim Galasyn says:

    The Telegraph spin is predictably sympathetic, giving David Holland alot of column inches, but they give the last word to Phil Jones.

    Climategate: University of East Anglia U-turn in climate change row

    “Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them.”

  20. 20
    Martin Vermeer says:

    George Ortega #15, while I sympathise with the spirit, colour me skeptical. There is something much simpler that can be done, without 1st amandment issues or need for a political majority: a Climate Libel Defense Fund, generously endowed and aggressively programmed.
    What would also help would be to see Bush and Blair on trial for their Iraq crime (yes I know, in my dreams). It would mark that war crimes and crimes against humanity have consequences.

  21. 21
    billyBoy says:

    To Geroge Ortega

    Sounds like you’d rather not have any debate at all – if you are so confident of AGW you should allow the facts to speak for themselves and if people dont listen keep repeating the facts (as you see them)

    Posts like yours only increase the impression that your ‘side’ are slightly intolerant

    [Response: There is no shortage of intolerance in the world (and my email this week attests strongly to that). Basing an appreciation of a scientific argument on tallies of where the most or least intolerance is to be found is not particularly rational. - gavin]

  22. 22
    Bob Sceptic says:

    #6 and #15 “PEER REVIEW”

  23. 23
    mike roddy says:

    Peter Jensen, #5: I agree, and think that would be an excellent project for a science journalist. He would need help from climate scientists, but it’s definitely doable. Unfortunately it would never make it to, say, the New York Times, but a magazine or even a courageous paper (Sacramento Bee? LA Times?) could do it. Or, possibly, Grist. I’m willing to take it on if a few people are willing to help. It would be an excellent communication tool.

    Scientists I know are all restrained and fair minded people. Deniers take advantage of this. Time to go on offense in the court of public opinion.

  24. 24
    Klaus Flemløse says:

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…

    In my opinion Svensmark is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. On the one hand his is a serious scientist (Dr. Hyde) generating several interesting scientific ideas about global warming and on the other hand a politician (Dr. Jekyll) working to satisfy ideological goals of the utmost conservatives in Denmark. This originates from his need for funding from utility companies and from the utmost conservatives in the Danish parliament. For these reasons Svensmark is difficult to understand. Sometimes he is a scientist and sometimes a politician.

    Svensmark’s position in science is influenced by his Dr. Jekyll personality, when he is producing spin about his science. However – as I understand it – he has produced several scientific ideas, which have been accepted by the scientific community.

    If you are using very strict scientific standards in generating hypotheses, science will end in a deadlock. For this reason I am willing to give Svensmark “a lot of leash”, even if his has given “a short weight” in his publication being discussed in this thread.

    Peter Laut has not ruled out the solar influence on global warming. Peter Laut has focused on some weak points in Svensmark’s data handling. Svensmark has not until now produced an answer to Peter Laut’s criticism nor produced an updated analysis using the same set up. Since Svensmark has not done so, Peter Laut’s criticism is still valid.

    This is not good for Svensmark’s reputation.

  25. 25
    david cook says:

    The Urban heat island effect keeps coming up as a cause of “apparent” rise of temperatures. Is there any truth to this? Is there any UHIE? I read somewhere that there is no longer any adjustment to the temp record to adjust for this. Can someone comment please

  26. 26

    Rasmus, thanks for the post. I did not know of Peter Lauts work on this. I have updated my Svensmark page accordingly:

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/henrik-svensmark

  27. 27
    dhogaza says:

    The Urban heat island effect keeps coming up as a cause of “apparent” rise of temperatures. Is there any truth to this? Is there any UHIE? I read somewhere that there is no longer any adjustment to the temp record to adjust for this. Can someone comment please

    It’s even worse for the satellites, you know … can you say International Space Station?

  28. 28
    Geno Canto del Halcon says:

    A “Climate Change Misinformation Act” would have the opposite effect of the one intended. Extremely bad idea, IMO. It will serve to further inflame the denialist camp, many of whom already believe that they get shut out of serious discussions, and that scientists are not objective because their research grants depend on them saying what the politicians want them to say. Stick to the Joe Friday, “Just the facts, ma’am” approach; be careful to qualify theories and conclusions. Only reality will convince the lay public. Regardless of what the denialists say, glaciers shrink, sea level keeps rising, and the tree species that grow in the northwest continue to change.

  29. 29
    George Ortega says:

    Ray #17, You seem to miss the point. Democracy empowers us to make it illegal to deceive the public (as with false advertising) and to practice various professions without a license, (as with law and medicine). Our U.S. democratic laws allow us to, for example, prohibit a car manufacturer from claiming their car gets 30 miles per gallon when the truth is, according to a government appointed authority, that the car gets only 25 miles per gallon. Car manufacturers do not have the liberty, under our democracy, to challenge that government appointed authority by creating commercials and advertisements that say “The U.S. Government is telling you our car gets only 25 miles per gallon, but it is wrong. Our car really does get 30 miles per gallon.” If a car company tried that under the guise of First Amendment rights, the courts would throw out such a case so quickly it would make their heads spin.

    Or consider something more controversial. The Surgeon General has established that marijuana is unsafe, regardless of evidence that it is safer than alcohol. Imagine what would happen if an organization like NORMAL started publishing television advertisements stating that, contrary to the Surgeon General’s conclusions, marijuana poses no significant health risks, and is safer than alcohol. That same Right Wing who would champion free speech rights when it comes to climate change would raise holy hell and, if federal drug laws do not already prohibit such advertisements, would appeal to Congress and the President to immediately pass such legislation.

    The truth is that there is much, much, more evidence that global warming is a monumentally greater risk to civilisation than that marijuana is more harmful to human health than alcohol. I’m sorry, Ray, but our democracy and free speech laws allow for the kind of legislation I am proposing. That is quite clear. If you can think of ANY better way to get the public to understand the grave threat we face, I’d like to hear it. Otherwise, I don’t think we have any other reasonable option but to simply make the mass publishing of misinformation on global warming by non-professionals illegal.

    Martin (20), We’ve been trying your suggestion, in principle, and it has not worked. Corporations simply have much more money at their disposal than any climate change defense fund could probably ever accumulate.

    Allowing corporations and associations to, out of ignorance or basic self interest, deceive the public on an issue so threatening to public health as climate change is simply immoral and needs to be made illegal. If we don’t understand and act on that simple fact, civilization, as we know it, does not deserve to, and will very likely not, survive.

    I suggest that the world’s major climate change scientists draft and sign a letter, and send that letter to the legislators of all of the world’s countries demanding this climate change misinformation legislation. That act alone would do a great deal to get the public to understand the gravity of the global warming threat.

  30. 30
    Peter says:

    Given the moderation policy at this site I have zero confidence that this will be posted but here goes.

    I am really very surprised at the level of snide dismissive ad hominem attacks on people merely questioning methodology, transparency, the validity of extremely complex models founded on very little evidence. But apparently this is par for the course. I guess it is easier to demonize dissenters as stooges of imbecile politicians like Inhofe or evil petro-business. Actually demonize seems to be on the gentle end of the spectrum. George Ortega wants to lock them up. That suggestion seems to pass consensus, yet the only post that the moderator feels needs correction and editing is Steve’s comment #11 above suggesting that knocking down the impact of solar activity as a single causation of GW is a strawman beatdown.

    If you really care about the impact of AGW you will reconsider. Using blackballing on top of bad science is not a way to accomplish these ends. I was educated in the social sciences and my career is in software development so I do have an understanding of where the whole climate model space exists on the spectrum of science. You folks are much closer to psychology than chemistry than you like to admit, so a toning down of the scientific certainty attitude is more than overdue.

    It does surprise me when I realize that you see yourselves as the Galileo in this scenario. You are not. You are the orthodoxy locking up the dissenters. The mere existence of flat earthers like Senator Inhofe does not make your version rounder.

    And look, the real issue that gets so little attention is that there are public policy actions that could make sense if you are 100% right as well as if you are mostly wrong. Instead of creating a new flim flam derivative market in “carbon credits” to enrich the same traders responsible for the 2008 crash while you consign the developing world to poverty in the mad pursuit of the CO2 bogeyman, why not just take the same trillions of dollars you want to set on fire and simply subsidize solar and wind power to incent it, or fund battery research to be able to take advantage of it.

    As someone who believes that climate change is a real issue (more than single threaded warming per se) and that human activity has some role, that CO2 is a factor but obviously not the only one, that there are undoubtedly other factors, and that the “science” behind climate models is in its infancy, impossible to validate, half made up, and now more than ever quite transparently driven by petty politics as much as data that it seems a little awkward to read you pots calling any kettles black. Let alone the really shiny ones.

  31. 31
    Ray Ladbury says:

    George Ortega says, “Democracy empowers us to make it illegal to deceive the public (as with false advertising) and to practice various professions without a license, (as with law and medicine).”

    It also gives us the right to stop being a democracy if we stop being vigilant. I do not favor remedying one antidemocratic trend (the neutering and self-censorship of a free press) with another (censorship of speech). I suspect that Exx-Mob will one day pay severe damages to island nations who contend their inundation could have been avoided had we not been prevented from acting. However, even this misses the point. The question is whether people are smart enough to look at evidence rather than simply believing what they want to believe. It is a litmus test for our survival.

  32. 32
    billyBoy says:

    Gavin

    I was not equating the level of intolerance to the validity of any scientific argument. The facts will speak for themselves, even if no one listens.

    George Ortega’s post was calling for any disagreement to be a criminal offence!

    After the revalations from the CRU the public will need to be approached with a much calmer style – I think the AGW debate is far from over, rather it’s about to get far more interesting.

  33. 33
    Tom Dayton says:

    David Cook, regarding the urban heat island effect on official climate temperature records, see the SkepticalScience.com post Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?.

    See also the SkepticalScience.com Urban Heat Island effect exaggerates warming and Temp record is unreliable.

  34. 34
    R Taylor says:

    An aging El Nino, a weak sun … I admire the depth of your belief, but I wouldn’t want to be preaching it next February.

  35. 35
    dhogaza says:

    George Ortega wants to lock them up. That suggestion seems to pass consensus

    Reading comprehension problem? Not a single person has supported George Ortega’s suggestion, which would not only be unconstitutional in the United States, but morally and ethically wrong.

    I was educated in the social sciences and my career is in software development so I do have an understanding of where the whole climate model space exists on the spectrum of science.

    Nothing in either of those fields makes you competent to make such a claim.

    You folks are much closer to psychology than chemistry than you like to admit, so a toning down of the scientific certainty attitude is more than overdue.

    Nothing more than an assertion from presumed personal superiority.

    It does surprise me when I realize that you see yourselves as the Galileo in this scenario. You are not. You are the orthodoxy locking up the dissenters

    1. The orthodoxy was long “we don’t need to worry about any potential AGW”. Dissenters like Hansen were long the dissenters to orthodoxy.

    2. The dissenters aren’t “locked up”, those who do actual scientific work are published. Spencer, Christy, Lindzen, Svensmark, etc are all published. The fact that their work is subsequently shot down due to shoddiness (sign error in the UAH MSU temp reconstructions, anyone?) is their problem, not a problem for “orthodoxy”.

    As someone who believes that climate change is a real issue (more than single threaded warming per se) and that human activity has some role, that CO2 is a factor but obviously not the only one, that there are undoubtedly other factors, and that the “science” behind climate models is in its infancy, impossible to validate, half made up, and now more than ever quite transparently driven by petty politics as much as data that it seems a little awkward to read you pots calling any kettles black.

    Let’s see how our self-styled Galileo stacks up against the orthodoxy he dislikes so much …

    1. “CO2 is a factor but obviously not the only one” – check. Orthodox, not Galilean.

    2. “there are undoubtedly other factors” – check. Orthodox.

    3. “the “science” behind climate models is in its infancy” – unsupported assertion from a personal sense of superiority. Not Galilean, that’s for sure. Nor orthodox. Irrelevant without supporting arguments that can be tested for correctness.

    4. “impossible to validate” – check. Orthodox. Neither can those models used to design airliners, bridges, etc. Still, they’re useful, just as climate models are.

    5. “half made up” – unsupported assertion from a personal sense of superiority, with no evidence submitted. Which half is “made up”? The comments? The code? Please be specific. GISS Model E source is online, you’re a software developer, I’ve been a software engineer for nearly 40 years, so if you can point me to even a small portion of the half that’s “made up”, I’ll take a look to see if you know what you’re talking about.

    6. “now more than ever quite transparently driven by petty politics” – as above. Show me, in the source, the exact portions of GISS Model E that is transparently driven by petty politics. I eagerly await enlightenment.

  36. 36
    david cook says:

    RE #27 DHOGAZA thank you for your most informative comment. I googled the term and came up with a youtube video that shows using rural stations vrs urban temperature recording stations The conclusion was that by using rural stations within 50 kilometers of the urban stations there was no warming while the urban stations show warming. Is this correct or perhaps the rural stations were cherry picked to show just this??Or is this as dhogaze”s attitude would suggest is the UHIE an ” inconvenient Truth”

  37. 37
    Bill K says:

    While I greatly appreciated Gavin making a recent post here showing where all the data can be downloaded, it doesn’t change the fact that the CRU Email showed [edit] scientific misconduct.

    [edit]

    [Response: I would like to state for the record that neither I nor anyone at RC condones scientific misconduct. We should all strive for the highest ethical standards in the conduct of scientific research. The fact remains that no actual scientific misconduct has been revealed by the emails. No falsification of data, no plagiarism and no grand conspiracy. Should any of those things come to light, we would of course condemn them. But no determination of scientific misconduct is going to be made on the basis of your misreading and quoting out of context stuff from the emails. - gavin]

  38. 38
    Hank Roberts says:

    Peter says: 29 November 2009 at 1:53 PM
    (Shorter: consider ocean pH change)

  39. 39
    Matti Virtanen says:

    If you read Danish, you might want to google ‘Laut Svensmark Friis-Christensen’ and notice that this dispute has a history going back a decade. Tired old arguments.

    How about offering Svensmark and/or Friis-Christensen a chance to reply? In the present situation it might improve RC’s reputation as a real science blog.

  40. 40
    George Ortega says:

    Gino Canto del Halcon #28,

    I disagree that climate change misinformation legislation would have the opposite effect. If we had decades to wage this debate in the forum of public opinion, perhaps the truth would win out. Consider the following. Regardless of the solid scientific consensus on evolution, a Gallop 2007 poll revealed that 49 percent of the public believes in evolution while 48 percent do not. That poll shows why empowering the public to be judge and arbiter of the global warming debate is so dangerous. By the time, if ever, the public got around to understanding the extent of the threat of climate change, it would be far, far too late. We have given the public more than enough time to understand that threat, and they clearly do not have the scientific capacity to do so. Imagine the kind of world we would live in if we left decisions about product safety to laypeople instead of professionals. No. We have gone the public route on climate change, and it has failed miserably. To continue that strategy would be the height of folly. We have many, many laws that curb our free speech rights. It’s time we created laws that constrain media corporations and organizations from publishing anything but the conclusions of a central global authority on climate change.

    Ray #31,

    We do not have to give up democracy to deny corporations the right to misinform the public about an issue so vitally important as climate change. Would you defend the right of people to practice medicine without a license, including the performing of surgery? I don’t think so, because you recognize the danger in doing that. By opening up the climate change debate to any novelist or lay person, that is exactly what we are doing, except with far more grave consequences. As I said before, if people have something to contribute to the climate change debate, let them go through the standard scientific process of peer-review. If not, they should not have the right to endanger civilization with their ignorant or self-serving or simply confusing two cents.

  41. 41
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Peter claims:

    that the “science” behind climate models is in its infancy, impossible to validate, half made up, and now more than ever quite transparently driven by petty politics as much as data…

    Educate yourself on the science before making ridiculous accusations like these. Barton’s site is an excellent introduction.

  42. 42
    Eyal Morag says:

    Since I come from the same country as Nir Shaviv ניר שביב made some very simple draw combining Sunspots and cosmic ray intensity from:
    http://ulysses.sr.unh.edu/NeutronMonitor/images/0_1950-2006.GIF
    and temp from
    GISS [NASA] Surface Temperature Analysis
    Any high school student can do it
    The result is very clear no correlation between cosmic ray and global warming.
    for the draw
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_YMy1aUVbNG8/SRBJIUrQL1I/AAAAAAAAAZk/BDEEoOxHWMQ/s1600-h/Cosmic_Ray-Sunspots-Temp.jpg
    In the post [Hebrew]
    http://the-black-butterfly-effect.blogspot.com/2008/11/blog-post.html

    But just recently appear in hebrew “The chilling stars by Svensmark & Calder
    הכוכבים המקררים תיאוריה חדשה על השתנות האקלים
    מאת: הנריק סוונסמרק ונייג`ל קולדר
    And in a respectable publishing house.

  43. 43
    Michael K says:

    In a nutshell, the reason why there is so much scientific crap coming out of Denmark is very simple, though very political.

  44. 44
    Tom Dayton says:

    David Cook regarding the urban heat island effect, if you prefer video, then in addition to the textual resources I pointed you to, you should watch greenman3610′s “Watt’s Up With Watts?”.

  45. 45
    George Ortega says:

    billyBoy, #21 and #32,

    No, I’m not trying to stifle debate on climate change. I am trying to limit it to the peer review process. The public is simply not adequately scientifically equipped to rationally weigh in on the subject, and if every global warming denier and skeptic has just as much of a right to submit their conclusions to peer-review publications as any other scientist or person, then the debate continues. What I am trying to stop is selfish and irresponsible corporations and associations from intentionally or simply misguidedly attempting to confuse the public on global warming. We can no longer afford that kind of reckless confusion to prevail.

    And we don’t have the luxury of having the facts “speak for themselves” to a public in no way capable of distinguishing climate change facts from nonsense. Yes, I’m calling for global warming misinformation to be not just a criminal offense, but also a severe criminal offense. Far more of a criminal offense than it is for car manufacturers to lie about their car’s mpg rating or safety features, because the risk to public safety from global warming is far greater.

    Dhogaza, #35,

    You bring up a good point. Not a single person has supported my climate misinformation legislation proposal. I suppose people confuse free speech with the right of non-professionals to weigh in on a subject about which they are in no way qualified. I suppose that perhaps these people do not understand how much free speech is already curbed in society, and in the vast majority of cases with good reason. I suppose that people value their right to say whatever they want over the right of their children and grandchildren to have a chance at a proper life. If that is the case, our humanity is so morally confused and depraved that our civilization does not seem to deserve to continue.

    Your point, however, about a climate change misinformation act being unconstitutional in the U.S. is clearly wrong. I cited the Surgeon General’s conclusion that cigarette smoking is a danger to the public health, and the subsequent laws censoring the right of cigarette manufactures to challenge that conclusion in television commercials or other public advertisements. Those laws are completely constitutional. Your comments make it appear that you are more concerned with the right of anyone to say whatever they wish than the right of society to be protected from public health risks and the self-serving motivations of various unscrupulous or misguided individuals and corporations. There are many, many laws now on the books in every country in the world that take issue with the libertarian “individual rights trumps everything else” philosophy.

    Lastly, with your Galileo analogy, you presume that I as a layperson am making pronouncements and conclusions regarding the science of climate change. I am certainly not because I fully understand that I do not have the scientific training or knowledge to make such decisions. And I don’t want our public policy on climate change dictated by others similarly ignorant. As I said before, we should leave climate change exclusively to the peer-review process, and make illegal fall other attempts to weigh in on the debate, because they are so dangerous.

  46. 46

    #30 Peter

    Your lack of context is glaringly obvious.

    The fact that you did not post your full name tells me you don’t really stand behind your words.

    The general gist of your post is so old and tired and has been heard ad infinitum on this site. You may actually think you are the first to try to refute science with red herring distractions but its really, really old hat here.

    Simply put, some things are more certain than others. Your pointing out that same old argument to support an unsupportable claim illustrates that you should tone down your rhetoric and increase your study time.

    I can point you to where the Co2 Boogeyman is well defined but since you are an anonymous poster, you might not care. Please feel free to prove me wrong.

    The vague nature of your statements lends me to believe that you are not interested in specifics that can easily be refuted, or you simply don’t understand climate science at all and therefore can not be specific easily.

    Your statements in your last paragraph simply show that you don’t understand the relevance of the various influences in climate in relation to pre-industrial forcings.

    Post your full name and study the science so you can ask meaningful questions, rather than spouting unsubstantiated flotsam onto the surface of your perspective in the public pool of climate communications.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/
    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming
    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths

  47. 47
    dhogaza says:

    . Is this correct or perhaps the rural stations were cherry picked to show just this??

    The point, of course, is that the satellite temperature record also shows warming, as just about any signal you can think of in the natural world, from arctic sea ice trends, horticultural zones in the US, migration arrival dates, northward push of more southern species (a lot of that happening on the US west coast with birds), northern expansion of range of pine bark beetles, etc etc.

    Knowing that everything we look at points to warming, do you think you could perhaps answer your own question?

    It’s not just scientists making shit up, it’s birds, ice, plants, bugs, etc making shit up, all part of the Global Warming Hoax, dude.

  48. 48
    debreuil says:

    Hi Gavin… Seeing as we’ve all read the emails and looked at the code, maybe we can just disagree on “scientific misconduct”. Would you agree at least that it is “unscientific conduct”? I think what everyone needs to hear is not things like “the email reads bad”, but more like, “we realize that in many cases we’ve strayed from the high standards of conduct science requires and will correct that”.

    From a strictly PR point of view, you may want to revisit the Intel handling of the ‘pentium bug’, where they dismissed it as ‘not a problem’ (in that case in fact it wasn’t), and paid the price later.

    To just repeat ‘there isn’t a problem’ in light of what we’ve all seen suggests to many that there may be bigger problems.

    [Response: A claim of scientific misconduct is a serious business. I have seen nothing in these emails that even remotely approaches such a standard. There are people being rude. There are people clearly saying ill-advised things (one case in particular). There are people venting and indulging in hyperbole. None of that is scientific misconduct. If you want to insist that there is such a thing, make a case for it. Where is there evidence of plagiarism? Where is there evidence of falsification of data? This is completely separate from whether or not there is 'a problem' revealed here. The problem of harassment of climate scientists to the point where they can't do their real work is very real. Is it a problem that they get defensive sometimes. Sure. But I'm not going to agree that there are undefined 'problems' revealed here that we need to tackle, just to gain some PR points. - gavin]

  49. 49
    Michael K says:

    There is a strong, underlying, political context which nurtures ‘climate sceptism’ in Denmark, which I’m having difficulty commenting on because of the obtrusive spam filter on this site.

  50. 50
    david cook says:

    RE#33 thank you very much Tom Dayton those are interesting links you posted. they seem to be from a website with a one way point of view much like the surface station webpage has the other view.Its very hard to find unbiased information .
    http://www.epa.gov/hiri/about/index.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island


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